THE morale of district doctors is tumbling due to stress and rising workloads.

Wyre Forest General Practitioners chairman Dr Jim Goodman has warned doctors may quit because of Government targets combined with a lack of numbers.

He said there was "growing disenchantment" and backed the British Medical Association's general practitioners committee which has passed a vote of no confidence in the Government's ability to asses the workload.

He said: "We will lose GPs if we are not careful. We simply do not have enough doctors to deliver the Government's agenda.

"Our workload and the general hassle we receive has increased. The last month is the busiest I can remember in the last 10 years.

"The Government needs to recruit as quickly as possible and adjust the workload for doctors."

Dr Goodman said GPs had been affected by Government directives such as 24-hour access to GPs and around the clock primary care centres.

He said there was a glimmer of hope for GPs with the establishment of the Wyre Forest Primary Care Trust.

This will give GPs more financial control and strengthen links with other community health care services.

Wyre Forest MP David Lock, a member of the Government, sympathised with Dr Goodman.

He pointed out the Government was attempting to catch up on years of underfunding by the previous administration and was looking to recruit 2,000 extra doctors.

But the increased workload was also a result of an ageing population and rising patient expectations.

Mr Lock, whose wife is a GP, said: "I do understand their concerns. We demand a lot of our GPs but the expectations are rising faster than we are able to deliver.

"We need to use not abuse our GPs. People are accessing services more yet we have a healthier population.

"We must be prepared to take advice over the phone, see nurse practitioners or not worry a GP unnecessarily. We all have a part to play."