Some parts of England will need a 50% increase in community GPs by 2020 to meet the demands of the growing population, the Royal College of General Practitioners has warned.

A new ‘league table’ of projected GP shortages shows that, overall, England will need 8,000 new full time equivalent GPs, with Bexley, which needs an 87% boost, Redbridge, needing an increase of 85%, and Swale, requiring a lift of 74%, topping the list.

Research by the College also predicts that this year, on an estimated 67 million occasions, patients in England will have to wait for a week or more to see a GP or practice nurse, marking it the fourth consecutive year where there has been a significant increase, largely because of “lack of sufficient resourcing for general practice and rapidly growing demand”.

General practice now manages 90% of all patient contacts in the NHS but its share of the budget has fallen year on year and is now at its lowest ever at 8.3% in the UK. Later today, MPs will debate the pressures facing the field in Parliament, and will vote on a motion calling for Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt and any future health chiefs to secure its financial future.