A looming workforce crisis among GPs could leave Merseyside with insufficient doctors to treat patients, it has been claimed.
British Medical Association research has backed shock local findings over family doctors either retiring early or leaving the UK to work abroad.
Their recent survey suggests that heavy workloads have caused six-out-of 10-GPs to consider retiring early with three out of 10 contemplating leaving general practice.
Across the county, GPs are struggling with unmanageable workloads, increasing demand and plummeting morale.
Dr Rob Barnett, BMA GP representative for Merseyside and Liverpool said: “In just the past month I have spoken to at least four or five local GPs who are considering significantly reducing their working hours or leaving the profession altogether.
“While doctors are doing their best to deliver outstanding care to their patients, we are constantly being asked to provide more services without the resources required to deliver them successfully.
“In Wirral, practices are now being asked to open 8am until 8pm, but there simply isn’t the level of staff or adequate funding to do this.
“The region is facing a recruitment crisis as practices struggle to fill vacancies; when my practice recently advertised for a new GP the number of applicants, compared to a few years ago, was down by at least 60%. “
And Dr Barnett warned: “If this situation continues and general practice loses even more dedicated doctors, it could lead to a serious workforce crisis where we don’t have enough GPs to treat our patients.”
On Sunday, the Royal College of General Practitioners (RGCP) said the critical state of general practice is already affecting patient care.
Dr Maureen Baker, chair of the RCGP, urged the Government to set aside more funding and that without it there would be a severe knock-on effect on the rest of the NHS.
"General practice as we know it is now under severe threat of extinction," she said.
"It is imploding faster than people realise and patients are already bearing the brunt of the problem.
"This will only get worse unless urgent action is taken to redress the huge and historic imbalance in funding."