GP surgeries should be placed in A&E hospital departments to see patients who turn up to hospital inappropriately, according to a poll of doctors.

More than half (61%) of GPs believe it is necessary to relieve pressure on emergency departments.

Key targets for waiting times are being missed at A&E departments across England and there are widespread concerns that patients turn to A&E rather than attempting to see a GP first.

The poll of more than 500 doctors for the Press Association, carried out by healthcare intelligence firm Wilmington Healthcare, found that 27% of doctors believed up to a third of people go to A&E when they should be seen by a GP or nurse.

Some 13% said more than half of patients should be redirected to GP services on arrival at A&E.

Official NHS figures show about 13% of people who attend A&E are discharged without requiring treatment. A further 35% are discharged after being given advice or guidance only.

27%

of doctors believed up to a third of people go to A&E when they should be seen by a GP or nurse

13%

of people who attend A&E are discharged without requiring treatment

35%

are discharged after being given advice or guidance only

In the poll, 75% of doctors said they thought people went to A&E without needing to because thought they would be seen faster. Some 74% said patients misunderstood the purpose of A&E and 62% said patients thought they would get to see a specialist.

In November, MPs on the Commons health committee warned that poor performance in A&E has "become the norm" for some NHS trusts.

A&E departments are now routinely missing the national target to deal with 95% of patients within four hours.

Major type 1 A&E departments - those that are located in hospitals - perform the worst, with 87.9% of patients admitted, discharged or transferred within that timeframe in 2015/16.

The poll found that just 28% of doctors did not think GP services should be co-located in hospitals.

Educating patients on when they should go to A&E was seen by 72% of doctors as a key step to relieving pressure on emergency departments.

Improving access to GPs was seen as necessary by 60% of doctors, while 40% said increasing the availability of doctors out of hours would have an effect.

Another said: "We should not be discouraging patients from attending A&E, but should be providing the services that they need and want at one convenient destination - this could include pharmacy, primary care, minor injuries, emergency department and rapid access."

Taj Hassan, president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, said: "The results here bear out what this college has been advocating for many years. It is important to match the level of services available to reflect both rising demand and our ageing population. Co-location of primary care services can offer some solutions to the challenges faced by the rising tide of patients arriving at emergency departments."