STRUGGLING GP surgeries in Frinton and Walton could be forced to close within six months as they buckle under a staff shortage crisis.

Frinton’s Caradoc surgery and Walton’s Vicarage Lane facility are stretched to breaking point with the recruitment of new doctors proving impossible.

And the Walton surgery is set to lose another doctor by the summer.

From July it will be down to three doctors providing treatment for the 11,000 population of Walton, while Frinton’s surgery is already down to one doctor for 8,000 residents.

Expensive locums have been brought in as a stop gap.

But it is feared the surgeries will be forced to close if they continue to battle against the financial loss through the amount splashed out on locums.

Mayor Iris Johnson said: “The locums cost £750 a day to bring in. That is costing the partnerships an awful lot and if something doesn’t improve they will not be able to keep going after the next six months.

“It is not manageable.”

Town councillors have been meeting with surgery bosses and NHS England in a bid to find a solution.

NHS England representatives are due to return to the area to offer help in approaching the problem within the next week.