Falling GP numbers has left people all over Bolton struggling to get to see doctors, campaigners say.

This comes after figures showed that the falling number of GPs in the borough had left every remaining professional responsible for just over 1,600 patients.

Patients from older and younger age groups have borne the brunt of this, but geographically this has been felt right across the borough, from the town centre to outlying areas.

Bolton and District Pensioners Association secretary Bernie Gallagher said: “I think it’s the same, people in our group come from all over the borough of Bolton and nobody says they’ve had a good experience with access to GPs.

“It isn’t a criticism of the services themselves, it's about the access to them.”

Patients all over Bolton have had difficulties accessing servicesPatients all over Bolton have had difficulties accessing services (Image: Newsquest)

The figures from the House of Commons Library, drawn from NHS Digital, show that there is now an average of 1,602 patients for the equivalent of every full time GP in Bolton.

But of the borough’s 219 GPs, only 139 of them were fully qualified as of April this year with the rest still in training.

This means that when only fully qualified GPs are considered, each full-time equivalent GP is responsible for an average of as many as 2,379 people.

This means that on average every remaining fully qualified GP in Bolton has more than 500 extra patients to care for compared to December 2016.

Across the country GPs have been similarly hard-pressed, having delivered 25 per cent more appointments last month compared to April 2019 according to the Royal College of GPs.

Chair Professor Kamila Hawthorne said: “Patients are bearing the brunt of years of failures in funding and workforce planning.”

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She added: “Now that the general election is just a few weeks away, we’re hearing promises from political parties about improving access to general practice services, but this can only be done with investment to boost and protect the GP workforce.

“Right now, we simply don’t have enough GPs we are losing GPs faster than we are training new ones.

“We need all the major political parties to commit to significant investment and further efforts to increase and retain the GP workforce, to ensure general practice is fit for the future.

"If general practice fails, the NHS fails.”