The mass resignation of GPs is not a threat, it is an "impending reality", a GP leader has warned.
Dr Chaand Nagpaul, chairman of the British Medical Association's GP committee, said that as well as recruiting more GPs, the Government must work on retaining the current workforce.
During a speech at the annual conference of Local Medical Committees, which brings together GPs from across the country, he said excessive workloads were affecting doctors, who were increasingly turning to part-time work.
"Making the job doable and rewarding will reverse this trend and itself expand workforce capacity," he said.
"And with Government figures stating 38% of GPs intend to quit in the next five years, mass resignation is not a threat - it's an impending reality.
"The Government must ensure we retain the current workforce, in particular tackling the perverse factors driving older GPs to leave early."
Dr Nagpaul said factors such as cuts to social care and historic underfunding meant the NHS was currently running on empty. This was despite extra resources pledged by NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens in the General Practice Forward View, published just a few weeks ago.
Dr Nagpaul said: "GPs are facing an environment in which it feels we're being set up to fail.
"Where a workforce that is thousands of GPs short is expected to treat an expanding older population with multiple complex needs. Where a shrinking share of resources is given to doctors facing a mountain of unresourced work moving out of hospitals.
"Where the organisations that support us in the community have their budgets cut, while those that belittle us with petty regulations and threatening inspections are allowed to flourish."
Speaking about the Forward View, he said: "After a decade of declining funding, general practice will finally see an upturn of investment significantly higher than other sectors, and with increased share in the overall NHS budget.
"This is positive, but is tempered by the fact that general practice endured gross disinvestment at a time of plenty, while the Government is belatedly trying to make up the deficit at a time when the NHS is virtually running on empty."