NO new GP practices will be built in Barnsley - despite an increase in the number of patients being registered at the town’s surgeries and medics claiming the situation is at a ‘crisis’ point.

The British Medical Association say GPs face unmanageable workloads in the face of a vast backlog of care caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The average number of patients each fully qualified GP is responsible for is 2,286 in Barnsley, figures show.

This has increased since 2016 by 201 patients per GP in Barnsley and there are now just 0.44 fully qualified GPs per 1,000 patients in England - down from 0.52 in 2015.

With 21,000 homes set to be built in Barnsley by 2033, the South Yorkshire Integrated Care Board (ICB) says no new GP surgeries are planned and just one is being built in Rotherham.

The ICB says that it works with local councils to ‘explore opportunities to use any developer funding to improve estate and capacity in general practice’, and will ‘continually explore opportunities to improve or extend premises where appropriate’.

Dr David Crichton, chief medical officer at NHS South Yorkshire, said: “Our primary care teams receive planning applications for new housing developments and we look to work closely with our GP practices and other partners to provide feedback to our local authorities on the potential impact for health services in the area.

“Where appropriate, we work with our local councils to explore opportunities to use any developer funding to improve estate and capacity in general practice.

“Access to primary care services is an important element of healthcare provision in the NHS.

“In line with the NHS long-term workforce plan, we have an expansion of many different clinical professionals supporting our patients in GP practices and our workforce continues to diversify and grow to help people access the best service to meet their healthcare needs.”

Nationally, there were 27,483 fully-trained GPs in England in November - a marginal increase from the 27,392 last November.

But in September 2015, the earliest available figures, there were 29,364, meaning almost 1,900 GPs have been lost over the last eight years.

Dr Julius Parker, deputy chair of the British Medical Association’s GP Committee for England, said: “There are no two ways about it: we are in the midst of a GP workforce crisis.

“We are having to do more work with fewer resources and are being stretched to the limit, leaving patients frustrated that they cannot always access the care they need.

“More GPs are needed to provide the level of care that people deserve and we want to deliver.

“The government must prioritise GP recruitment and retention, otherwise the NHS will continue to haemorrhage doctors, putting patient care and safety at risk.”