Doctors' leaders have warned today that, in some parts of the North East, there are not enough GPs to care for patients.
The Royal College of General Practitioners has said there is a "worrying" shortage of doctors here, due to a combination of many taking early retirement due to work pressures and low numbers of trainees.
NHS Digital figures show:
- 17,432 more patients were registered with GPs in the North East and Cumbria in May this year, compared to May last year
- 36 fewer GPs were working in the North East and Cumbria in March this year, compared to March last year - down from 2,097 to 2,061
- 76.6% of GP training places have been filled - the lowest of any region
The professional body for GPs held a conference in Newcastle today to discuss increasing workload and ways to combat it.
The Royal College of General Practitioners stressed patients are still being kept safe, but warned the situation is unsustainable. It called for more innovation and investment in primary care.
The government says it is "committed" to recruiting an extra 5,000 GPs by 2020.
It was recently announced that one of five new medical schools around the country will be in Sunderland.