A ‘perfect storm’ of challenges could lead to the collapse of GP services in Wales, the BMA has warned.
The BMA Welsh GPs committee has set out its vision for ensuring a sustainable service.
General Practice — A Prescription for a Healthy Future calls for the share of the Welsh NHS budget allocated to the general medical services contract to return to 2007 levels when it stood at 10.3 per cent. Funding at this level should be maintained over three years
It also recommends:
- Correcting 10 years of underfunding for out-of-hours services
- A review of the condition of primary care premises, including estimates of how much repairs and improvements would cost, by March
- Prioritising the linking up of primary, secondary and social care IT systems, subject to appropriate patient data safeguards, to help the development of integrated care
- Giving real decision-making power to GP cluster networks — groups of GP practices within a local health board area. The networks should have delegated budgets and resources for training
- Politicians should promote realistic messages about what can be delivered within NHS resources.
WGPC chair Charlotte Jones said: ‘Welsh general practice is experiencing significant challenges which, if not addressed, will lead to a perfect storm of an unsustainable service and potentially the collapse of Welsh general practice.
‘GPs and their staff across Wales are reporting rising stress levels relating to unrelenting increases in workload, patient numbers and complexity of sickness, together with an escalating recruitment and retention crisis.’
A Welsh government spokesperson said: ‘The health and social services minister announced an extra £3.5m in July for primary care, which will fund projects to address the inverse care law [which states the availability of good medical care tends to vary inversely with the need for it in the population served] and expand the primary care workforce to support GPs.’