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Urban areas have almost four times as many long-standing GP vacancies as rural areas, Government figures show.

The GP Practice Vacancies Survey for 2005 shows 4.2 per cent of all GP positions in urban areas are vacancies that have been open for more than three months.

The figure compares with 1.1 per cent in rural areas.

Worst hit regions in England are West Midlands South, where 5 per cent of all GP posts are vacancies that have been open for longer

than three months, West Yorkshire and Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Rutland.

The vacancy survey also found practices with the highest workload had three times as many GP posts unfilled after three months (3.6 per cent) as lower-workload practices (1.2 per cent).

Overall, the three-month vacancy rate in March 2005 was 2.4 per cent in England and 2.1 per cent in Wales.

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