FIGURES show the east of England has 150 fewer doctors than it did four years ago.

The findings by the Nuffield Trust mean the region has had the second biggest drop in the UK.

However, the number of docotrs in Colchester and Tendring has remained relatively steady.

There are 199 GPs, compared to 204 GPs in 2015.

The average doctor in the UK now has 125 more patients to look after than they did in 2014.

The Nuffield Trust believes another 3,500 GPs would be needed to get the NHS back to where it was in 2014.

There are just over 42,000 working, down by nearly 1,500 in four years.

It takes at least three years to train a junior doctor to become a GP and one in three who accept places on training courses, drops out of the system, according to the Nuffield Trust.

Meanwhile, the numbers retiring early have been increasing.

Across the UK steps are being taken to address pressures on general practice including increasing training places.

Steps are also being taken to increase the number of health staff to work alongside GPs.

A spokesman for the North East Essex Clinical Commissioning Group said: “This is a national problem we are working creatively to resolve.

“More medical students are choosing to come into General Practice.

“We also have 22 per cent of GPs who are now at the age where they could choose to retire – the national average is 20 per cent.

“We are holding recruitment fairs to attract a wider range of potential recruits, working internationally, offering more flexible portfolio contracts to appeal to younger GPs, wider range of clinical roles.”

The recent Essex Primary Care Skills Show and Jobs Fair at the JobServe Community Stadium gave clinical and non-clinical professionals the chance to hear directly from the primary care workforce about a career in the sector and network with employers.

Attendees also took part in a workshop programme, received career advice from employers, discussed ways to transition into primary care from other settings and discovered emerging roles available within that sector.

Maria Reid, business lead at Essex Primary Care Careers, said: “It was fantastic to see so many aspiring healthcare professionals attend our North East Essex Fair as we look to keep primary care at the top of the agenda.

“The fair showcased the incredible range of roles available within primary care in Essex and highlighted funding opportunities.”