General practitioner Wales

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£3.5m boost for general practice under question

An extra £3.5m of funding for primary healthcare services has been welcomed by doctors leaders, although questions remain over its use.

Mark DrakefordHealth and social services minister Mark Drakeford (pictured right) has said the funding will be made available in the current financial year and will be targeted at improving health and reducing inequalities in Wales's most deprived communities.

The money will develop primary care teams and provide eye-care services closer to people’s homes.

Professor Drakeford said: ‘We need to rebalance the way the NHS provides services in line with the principles of prudent healthcare towards a preventive primary care-led NHS, which is integrated with social care and has close links with services provided by the third and independent sectors.

‘We have a health service which is free at the point of need but that doesn’t mean that it is free of obligation — we all have a duty to take responsibility for our own health and to use our health services appropriately.’

Call for detail

BMA Welsh GPs committee chair Charlotte Jones said more detail was needed on the funding.

She said: ‘While we welcome the money coming into primary care, we are waiting for further details on how it will be utilised.

‘We have some concerns as it hasn’t specifically been said that the money will be targeted at the problems of GP recruitment and retention.

‘The announcement talks about the other primary care skills mix, which we support, but training those professions is going to take some time. We are interested to hear if there are going to be any extra proposals to solve the problems we are experiencing now.

‘It is not clear how the extra money is going to address the problems we are facing and make a difference to GPs and their teams on the ground.’

Welsh GP leaders have called for long-term, sustainable investment in general practice as part of the BMA’s Your GP cares campaign.

BMA Cymru Wales launched the Welsh element of the UK campaign last month and warned that GP services were under threat if extra resources were not made available.

 Find out more about the Your GP cares campaign

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