The government needs to invest in GPs for the East Midlands to tackle a growing population, says a leading Nottingham councillor.

Councillor Sam Webster, who is also a portfolio holder for Adult Social Care and Health on Nottingham City Council, has spoken out after BBC figures revealed that the East Midlands is one of the worst areas in the UK for GP numbers.

Cllr Webster said: “The government need to invest, they need to tackle the problem and they need to work with clinical commissioning groups in different areas to make sure there are enough GPs for the number of patients that need to see them.

“At the moment that isn’t happening.”

“There has been 50 years of growth in GP numbers for a reason, because the population is growing, so if we’ve got a decline that’s obviously going to become a problem,” he added.

There are 55.2 GPs per 100,000 people in the East Midlands, compared to 68.8 and 61.7 per 100,000 people in the South West and North East, according to the figures released today.

Only North West London and the East of England have fewer GPs than the East Midlands.

The average figure for England is 58.1 GPs per 100,000 people.

The numbers come amidst news that the NHS is weathering the first sustained fall in GP numbers in the UK for 50 years.

Cllr Webster noted that the situation was made worse by doctors leaving the profession, whether retiring or working part-time because of “pressure and stresses”.

The chair of the Nottingham Health and Wellbeing board said: “If you can’t see your GP, it often puts pressure on other parts of the health system.

“It’s a bit of a false economy to under invest in front line GP services.”