Hard-up newly qualified doctors are being priced out of buying into practices because of crippling debt, an accountancy firm has claimed.

Dodd & Co said many banks are refusing outright to loan young GPs money, while others are imposing prohibitively tough checks before signing on the dotted line.

The company warned the situation could leave many retiring doctors struggling to sell their practice share.

Partner Jeanette Brown said: “While many banks are still open for business as far as doctors are concerned, new partners may find their requests for buy-in loans turned down if they already have a combination of student loans, credit card debt and large mortgages.

“It’s a commonly held misconception that only low earners get into financial difficulties.”

Ms Brown added she had received reports of banks asking for demonstrations of profit projections, an unprecedented request in her experience.

A study by the British Medical Association earlier this year found that final year students owed, on average, £22,821.