CUTS to frontline NHS services are occurring as part of a Department of Health drive to find £20bn of efficiency savings, a poll suggests.
More than half (55%) of 370 doctors in general practice questioned for Pulse magazine said cutbacks to services were happening in their area and another third said they were planned.
Among services affected are psychiatry, blood testing and end-of-life care.
The survey also found many doctors are worried about the shift of some services from hospitals into the community.
Providing more services at home or in primary care centres has the potential to save the NHS billions of pounds a year as well as allowing people to stay in their own homes.
But while 54% of GPs said they supported the move in principle, 86% believe primary care does not have the capacity to cope.
Commenting on the survey, Prof Peter Bradshaw, professor in healthcare policy at the University of Huddersfield, said: “We have more technology and services than we can afford and all governments of whatever complexion need to ration what they provide.
“They call it prioritisation to disguise the inevitability that someone is going without or having to wait for something that would improve their lot.
“Since 2002 the NHS has had unprecedented cash increases of amounts like 8% extra year on year and the current spending review, even before the recession, tells us categorically that this must be reduced to less than half that – so belt tightening is inevitable.”
He also said that the nature of the survey meant that it could have attracted GPs who were less than content, suggesting the impending General Election was an opportunity for doctors to make a timely point.
He said: “GPs as a tribe, are always keen to conserve their earning power, which is not inconsiderable and something the Tory Party is keen to constrain.
“As Ken Clark said when Health Secretary: ‘Their altruism can only be appealed to through the medium of their wallets’.”
A spokesman for NHS Kirklees said: “We are committed to providing high quality frontline services and delivering and improving health care services for the population of Kirklees.
“We have invested £250k on a number of schemes to improve GP premises and have made grants of around £1.5m to a number of GPs and dentists to help them improve their premises mainly to support vocational training of new clinicians and to improve with infection control arrangements.
“This will support the provision of better quality care closer to patients’ homes.
“In addition, we have made significant investment in community-based services in recent years and these investments are designed to support people who no longer need to go to hospital for their care.”