DOCTORS are seeing many of their colleagues take their own lives amid warnings of extreme staff shortages.

Rebuild General Practice, which campaigns for the government to deliver on its promise of 6,000 new GPs in England by 2024, found that one in four GPs in the South East know of a colleague who has taken their own life.

It also says that 89 per cent of GPs have experienced mental abuse while working in the past year.

RGP launched its campaign with an emergency press conference in March to highlight the issues faced by medical professionals and to ask for support to fix the “fractured” system.

The Argus: Practices are experiencing GP shortagesPractices are experiencing GP shortages

Dr Rachel Ward from the RGP said: “This is a crisis for GPs and an emergency for patients. Years of underfunding and neglect have severely damaged general practice leaving us with a skeleton staff across Great Britain and no plan for filling the gaps.

“As GPs we are trying to find solutions and we are crying out for help – for our patients but also as human beings who are simply trying to offer excellent care and look after our communities. We need urgent support.”

It comes as more than half of practices in the southeast have lost staff over the last five years due to “unmanageable workloads”, with 48 per cent saying doctors have left due to mental health issues or “burnout”.