Responding to the report from the Chief Scientific Adviser for Health on ‘NHS in 10+ years: An examination of the projected impact of Long-Term Conditions and Risk Factors in Wales, Dr Gareth Oelmann, chair of the BMA’s Welsh GP Committee said:
“Today’s report from the Chief Scientific Adviser for Health is a stark warning which reflects our ongoing concerns around the sustainability of the NHS. It highlights many of the issues raised by BMA Cymru Wales in our recently launched SOS (Save Our Surgeries) Campaign.
“The report demonstrates that there is a persistent shortfall of full-time equivalent GPs.* We have campaigned for many years for an effective workforce strategy and an increase to NHS spending by an appropriate amount each year to keep up with the demand for services. In addition to having the right staff in place at the right time, it is vital that we ensure all staff are appropriately paid for the contribution they make so we retain them.
“Current inadequate capacity in the face of unrelenting demand is a product of longstanding workload, workforce and well-being issues, which correlate to the chronic underfunding of general medical services. Over the last ten years, investment in General Practice in Wales has dropped significantly as a share of total NHS spending.
“The health issues we face as a nation are complex and require investment to build a more resilient Wales for the future. Prevention is crucial to the long-term health of our nation; however, we need funding and support within our primary and secondary care health systems to achieve this otherwise patient safety is being put at risk.
Chair of Welsh Council, Dr Iona Collins said:
“The NHS requires staff and resources to deliver timely treatment and it is clear we are being failed on both fronts. Our members have been highlighting gaps in the NHS workforce for years.
“We know that the massive NHS waiting lists in Wales would not exist if we had enough staff and resources to deliver the service. It stands to reason, therefore that we need to incentivise doctors to come and work and stay in NHS Wales and equip them with the tools to deliver the service.
“Urgent action is needed to improve the nation’s health now and in the future.
Notes to editors
Notes to Editors
*“In the pessimistic case, the GP supply-demand gap grows to around 18,900 FTE by 2030-31 – nearly 1 in 2 GP posts (48%) based on projected demand. This equates to 1,000 in Wales.”
International comparisons with OECD data suggest that Wales has a GP workforce crisis. In June 2022 there were 2,768 individual GPs practicing in Wales, including GPs in training and locum GPs (based on headcount). This represents 0.87 GPs per 1,000 people whereas the average number of GPs per 1000 people in OECD EU nations is 1.08 To match this average, Wales would need around 3,432 GPs in total – or an additional 664 GPs – without factoring in less than full time working. https://www.bma.org.uk/advice-and-support/nhs-delivery-and-workforce/pressures/wales-save-our-surgeries-campaign