General practitioner Wales

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GPs vent dissatisfaction via survey

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JONES: Shocked by strength of feeling

There are 'grave concerns' for the future of general practice in Wales if the challenges it faces are not addressed, according to GP leaders.

BMA Cymru Wales has made the claim in a major report based on the responses of a Wales-wide survey of GP members.

An Urgent Prescription for General Practice in Wales is part of a push to solve the issues affecting primary care services and outlines several areas which need urgent action.

Just over a quarter of GPs responding to the survey (27.1 per cent) said they were considering a change of career, with poor work life balance being a common theme, while 82.1 per cent said they are worried about the sustainability of their practice.

BMA Welsh GPs committee chair Charlotte Jones said: 'In undertaking this survey we sought to develop a more solid understanding of what is going on in general practice, through the eyes of GPs themselves.

'While we expected to find that GPs are under stress, we could not have predicted the strength of feeling expressed in response to our survey.

'The headline results themselves are concerning enough, but when we look more closely at the detail of responses it is clear that for many GPs their career is having a very negative and personal impact on their quality of life.

'Outside of this, it is evident that these professionals share a common and genuine concern about the ability of general practice to deliver a high-quality service to patients as things currently stand.'


Workload rise

BMA Cymru Wales has pinpointed several actions it feels need to happen to solve the issues highlighted by the survey.

One of the biggest issues facing general practice in Wales is recruitment and retention.

According to the report, Wales has 0.6 GPs per 1,000 people in Wales – the lowest figure in the UK – and the declining capacity of the workforce has led to an increase in workload.

The BMA has offered several short-term and medium-term actions, but, in the long term, the Welsh Government needs to draw up a robust plan to train a greater proportion of UK doctors in Wales.

In terms of workload, the BMA has suggested setting a national standard for a maximum number of patients that GPs can reasonably deal with during a working day to maintain standards of care.

Dr Jones added: 'I have grave concerns for the future of general practice if the significant and worsening challenges are not urgently and meaningfully addressed at a national level.

'The Welsh Government must recognise this and take action to tackle GP recruitment and retention in Wales.'

Find out more about An Urgent Prescription for General Practice in Wales

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