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At the Welsh LMC conference last weekend, representatives came together to debate a variety of issues facing general practice in Wales. With nearly a quarter of the motions focusing on sustainability issues, I was heartened to see strong levels of support in the room for the independent contractor model, as well as for all sections of the GP workforce.
Other motions debated focused on training primary care staff, GP workload, and IT. I am pleased to report there was unanimous support for a motion calling for FIT testing for bowel cancer to be introduced in full, as well as for a motion calling for appropriate access to primary, secondary and tertiary mental health services.
In her final speech as chair of GPC Wales, Dr Charlotte Jones credited the strength of the profession in Wales for maintaining 86% satisfaction among patients, but warned that workforce shortages, underinvestment in GMS and increasing workload pressures are making general practice unsustainable.
I want to give a huge thank you to the agenda committee and the BMA staff who made the conference such a success. All their hard work behind the scenes helped the day run so smoothly.
I look forward to seeing you at the 2019 conference in Llandudno!
AC: That conference encourages Welsh Government to make up its mind whether it truly wants to preserve the independent contractor status of General Practice; and:
i. calls for the Welsh Government to develop measures to rebuild confidence in the partnership role in General Practice.
ii. advises that urgent investment is required to allow this model to continue, otherwise GMS will collapse by default.
iii. requests that Welsh Government and Local Health Boards acknowledge and address the situation where a well functioning practice is progressively destabilised when a neighbouring practice fails. PASSED UNANIMOUSLY
Gwent: That conference urges a sensible cap is agreed on the workload of a GP which can be expected to be safely delivered in a day for the safety of patients and sanity of GPs. PASSED (as AC motion)
North Wales: Conference agrees that a General Practitioner is a consultant in primary care and this should be legally affirmed and recorded on the GMC register. PASSED
Morgannwg: That conference believes it is a false economy to reduce the availability of FIT testing for bowel cancer diagnosis/screening and calls on Welsh Government to introduce it in full. PASSED UNANIMOUSLY
As is the norm with Welsh LMC Conference, there was excellent debate with lots of food for thought and enthusiasm from delegates, highlighting and reinforcing the pressures and solutions needed for Welsh GPs.
It has been a roller coaster journey for me over the last 5+ years as chair, but thankfully with more positives than negatives. Although I had a little tear in my eye at this being my last Welsh LMC Conference, I know that the expertise within GPC Wales and LMCs across Wales will ensure Wales will continue to be punching above its weight taking forward solutions to the challenges we face.
I’d like to end by saying it has been a real honour and privilege serving Wales and I promise to spend the last months of my chairmanship pushing forward the solutions needed for Welsh GPs and their teams.
Dr Charlotte Jones Chair, General Practitioners Committee (Wales)
The next conference will be held on Saturday 9 November 2018, at the St George’s Hotel, Llandudno.