FAMILY doctors are fighting back after a report revealed that parts of County Durham are facing a recruitment crisis.

The report published by the British Medical Association (BMA) this week reveals that the Durham Dales is one of the hardest hit areas in the country for recruiting GPs.

The area is the 14th worst in the country with almost eight per cent of posts in the Dales vacant for at least three months.

Derwentside is also among the highest in the country with 8.16 per cent of its posts unfilled.

The revelations come after the BMA asked Primary Care Trusts around the country for their GP vacancy rates.

But Dr Stewart Findlay, chairman of the Professional Executive Committee for the Durham Dales Primary Care Trust, said the situation had changed in the area since research for the report was carried out.

He said: "There are problems really across the whole of County Durham. In fact, everywhere in this area has had a recruitment crisis.

"About a year ago, the Durham Dales had serious problems with recruitment, but we have been working very hard over the past year to get through that.''

Dr Findlay said it was difficult to attract doctors to rural areas because of the hours, with some GPs working every other night, as well as holding routine surgeries.

He added that some of the vacancies included in the BMA report had now been filled, including the recruitment of two doctors in Crook and two in Willington.

Eight doctors have been recruited this year, two of whom are from Spain.