A doctor's surgery in Halifax is turning away patients whose illness is not considered an emergency, saying it is overcrowded and "no longer safe."

The GP practice sent a letter to its 10,000 patients, claiming that its doctors were dealing with an "unsustainable workload" and were "at breaking point."

The letter informed patients of a new scheme, where they will only be able to book an appointment on the same day if their illness is "medically urgent." In other cases, patients may have to wait up to seven days for an appointment and, in the most minor ones, may only be dealt with over the telephone.

Labour MP for Halifax, Linda Riordan, said:

"The NHS is under extreme pressure and doctors are at breaking point. I've had all ages coming to me about their concerns, including mothers for their children.

"If their child has a temperature, who do they go to? The already gridlocked A&E services? This is a real crisis, not only in Halifax, but nationwide."

Linda Millband, joint head of the medical negligence team at Thompsons Solicitors, commented:

"This decision is deeply concerning for all residents of Halifax who use the Keighley Road practice and is a reflection of the state of the NHS under this government. GP surgeries, like most NHS services, are stretched to the limit as they face increased patient numbers, funding cuts and a lack of support to address these issues.

"We have worked with thousands of victims of clinical negligence, many of whom have been affected by delays or oversights in their diagnosis. It is therefore vital that patients with any type of medical condition can access medical support when they need it. If they are unable to do this then, in some cases, this delay or inability to see a doctor could prove to be the difference between treating or failing to treat a condition in sufficient time to cure it."