Analysis by the Health Foundation found the NHS was short of around 4,200 full-time equivalent (FTE) family doctors.
That figure was projected to rise to around 10,700 FTE GPs in 2030/31 as rising numbers are needed to meet demand for care.
The research suggested that without a change from the current trajectory, more than one in four of the 37,800 GP posts needed to deliver pre-pandemic standards of care could be left vacant.
Anita Charlesworth, director of research and the Health Foundation’s REAL Centre, said: “England’s GP services are under huge pressure.”
“It’s sobering that over the next decade things are set to get worse, not better, with a growing shortage of GPs and practice nurses.
“While these issues are not unique to England, it is critical that government takes action to protect general practice and avoid it getting locked in a vicious cycle of rising workload driving staff to leave, in turn creating more pressure on remaining staff and fuelling even more departures.”
“It must also be clear with the public that the way they access general practice will need to change.”
The analysis suggested that if more doctors were recruited and retained, and GPs supported by other health professionals such as pharmacists and physiotherapists, the shortfall could be limited to around 3,300.
But if increasing numbers of GPs leave the profession due to burnout, and newer roles are not properly integrated into teams, the shortfall in ten years’ time could be as high as 20,400 GPs.
Ms Charlesworth said ministers could act to limit the problem, but warned: “There are no quick fixes.”
“Action is urgently needed to retain existing GPs and practice nurses, and to ensure that sufficient numbers are trained for the future.”
“Beyond this, there needs to be a comprehensive plan for the successful integration of allied health professionals in general practice teams and sufficient capital investment to ensure primary care has the buildings and equipment it needs for the future.”
Professor Martin Marshall, chair of the Royal College of GPs, said the findings made for “bleak but unfortunately familiar reading”.
He said: “They show that the Government must act to mitigate these projections, and ensure their worst-case scenario projections do not become a reality, which would be a disaster for patient care and the NHS as a whole.”
“The research chimes with the findings from the College which has shown almost 19,000 GPs plan to leave the profession in the next five years.”
Miriam Deakin, director of policy and strategy at NHS Providers, said more investment to attract and keep hold of GPs and allied health staff was vital.
She added: “First-class, accessible GP services are the bedrock of the NHS, helping people to stay healthy as well as being the gateway to specialist care for those who need it.”
Meanwhile, Sajid Javid announced plans for a digital transformation of the health service during a speech at the Policy Exchange in London.
They included a raft of new features for the NHS app and an expansion of remote technology so more patients can be monitored at home.
Asked about the impact on older people who may not be comfortable with new technology, the Health Secretary said there would be “options for everyone”.
He said: “My mum, she’s got the NHS app because of Covid vaccinations and things but I and my brothers have had to help her because she’s not as digitally literate as younger people, and we’ve got to take that into account.”
“We have to make sure there are options for everyone but also show that more broadly, when we talk about digitisation and modernisation, it benefits everyone. It doesn’t matter if you’re young or old.”
Mr Javid added that remote monitoring on virtual wards would “disproportionately benefit older patients” who may be at higher risk of infections if they come into hospital.