Local health services are coming under increasing strain as figures show that some GPs are responsible for 9,000 patients.

The Department of Health figures show that more than a million people were registered with a GP with over 3,000 patients on their books.

Health experts have warned of that the shortage of family doctors is likely to be made worse by reforms planned by the Health Secretary Andrew Lansley.

Dr Michael Dixon, chairman of the NHS Alliance, which represents the UK's primary care trusts, said yesterday: "Our workforce is in the wrong place. It's in hospital whereas it needs to be in the community. This is already beginning to show and it will get worse over the next year or so."

The total number of GPs increased from 31,369 in 2000 to 39,409 in 2010, according to the Department of Health.

A spokesman added: "We are committed to increasing the number of GPs and other frontline NHS staff to deliver the best care for patients."