GPs in Erith and Thamesmead have rated their working conditions in all five of the worst possible categories, in a survey into the "toxic cocktail of soaring demand" conducted by the British Medical Association (BMA).

The poll from the professional body, which represents 170,000 doctors in the UK, delves into issues with recruitment and financial challenges within general practice.

Shockingly, some 46 per cent of practices in England reported they have GPs who are planning to retire or leave the NHS.

In Teresa Pearce’s constituency, GPs listed their workloads as unmanageable, their quality of services as deteriorated, and their financial viability as unsustainable.

Furthermore, doctors said the level of demand for appointments had increased over the past 12 months, and at least one GP was planning to retire within the next year.

These damning scores put services in the red zone, along with much of the south east, on the BMA's heat map.

The BMA warned tens of thousands of people could be left without a local practice when publishing its research last week (March 3), and classed 300 surgeries as facing closure.

It also claimed the figures show that the "crisis in general practice is set to worsen", as it called on the government to safeguard services for patients.


Of those polled, doctors in Old Bexley and Sidcup said their workload was often unmanageable, their quality of workload had deteriorated, and the demand for appointments had increased.

In some areas, the practices were more positive – financial viability was described as reasonable, whilst no doctors were planning to either retire or leave general practice.

Likewise in both Dartford and Sevenoaks, workloads were reported to be often unmanageable, quality of service deteriorated, and level of demand increased.

However Dartford’s financial situation was also said to be reasonable – and Sevenoaks’ in between reasonable and weak.

Ms Pearce said: “GPs up and down the country work incredibly hard often in extremely tough circumstances to provide the best possible care for their patients.

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“However, there are increasing pressures on local doctors’ surgeries - some are around patients seeking support for illnesses arising from stress about housing, debt and fuel poverty, rather than medical problems with a biological foundation.

“Some surgeries, like Lakeside Medical Practice, are now working with wellbeing projects like Peabody’s ‘Positive Steps’ to try and tackle these issues head on.

“These pressures are only going to increase. The government urgently needs to act to provide further support to our local doctors’ surgeries.”

In Bexleyheath and Crayford, and in Gravesham, GPs did not take part in the survey.

The BMA polled 2,800 surgeries in total, around a third of those in England.

A Department of Health spokeswoman said: "We know GPs are under pressure and that is why we have agreed record investment for general practice.

"We saw an increase in the number of GPs recruited last year, and we will continue to boost numbers with an extra 5,000 doctors in general practice by 2020 - helping to deliver a safer NHS for patients seven days a week."