NEW figures have laid bare the pressures faced by GPs in north east Essex.

According to data released by the Nuffield Trust, the number of patients per GP in the north east Essex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is 2,265 – one of the highest figures in England.

Data showed many other areas of England, including some of the country’s largest cities, have a far lower ratio of patients to GPs.

For example, NHS Manchester CCG was listed by the Nuffield Trust as having 1,706 patients per GP, whilst Birmingham and Solihull CCG currently has 1,594 per patients per GP.

Research has also found the number of GPs in England, excluding registrars, had sat at 28,892 in 2016 – but has fallen to 27,699 in late 2021.

The figures are reflective of a wider challenge concerning waiting times for NHS patients.

Figures from NHS England show that, at the beginning of 2022, more than six million patients had been waiting over a year for treatment.

Waiting times were exacerbated towards the end of 2021 due to the omicron Covid variant, which saw staff shortages at the NHS rise by more than 50 per cent.

But a spokeswoman from the North East Essex CCG numerous other healthcare professionals, as well as GPs, were allowing patients to receive the necessary treatment for illness and ailments.

She said: “We know how hard all the staff at GP practices are working for their patients during this incredibly busy time and we thank them for all they are doing.

“There is a wide team of health care professionals working at many surgeries, not only GPs, but also physiotherapists, pharmacists, nurses and physician associates, enabling people to access the most appropriate care for their needs.”

Although the number of GPs is falling and the number of patients on waiting lists is growing, the spokeswoman added the north east Essex CCG would continue to support staff.

She added: “Our GP practices are an important part of the community and deliver high quality services to patients.

“We will continue to support them in looking after people’s health and wellbeing.”