The Royal College of General Practitioners in Wales (RCGP Wales) has called on the Welsh government to invest nearly £300 million in general practice by 2021/22 to avoid a “perfect storm”.
RCGP Wales has said the Welsh government should use the draft budget on Tuesday to secure the future of general practice in the country.
As part of the organisation’s “Put Patients First: Back General Practice” campaign, RCGP Wales has launched a timetable for action over the coming year that gives the government a clear roadmap to stabilising general practice in Wales.
It calls for an extra £297 million for general practice by 2021/22, based on 15/16 figures, to help recruit 500 more GPs, more nurses and paramedics to work in primary care and greater use of technology to enhance patient care.
Chronic underinvestment has meant that GPs in Wales are facing a perfect storm of increased demand, burgeoning workloads and a shrinking workforce, RCGP Wales has said, adding that the Welsh government has an opportunity to start making headway on this target in the draft budget tomorrow.
Dr Rebecca Payne, chair of RCGP Wales, said: “Today we are launching Transform, our roadmap for ensuring the survival of general practice in Wales. We have laid out clear plans that will make the difference we need, along with a time frame for beginning the delivery of these important actions over the next twelve months.
“There is an urgent need to invest, to embark on an ambitious recruitment campaign, including increasing the places for GP training here in Wales to 200 per year, and addressing urgently the number of professionals in the wider primary care team, such as nurses and paramedics.
“To ensure we are able to continue to provide the very best service for our patients, I urge the Welsh government to grasp this opportunity to secure a strong, safe and sustainable future for general practice in Wales.”
The call comes after analysis from the Health Foundation found that NHS Wales need to deliver at least £700 million in efficiency savings to balance its books by 2019/20.
The report says nearly £300 million of the funding gap will be closed by the UK Government’s 1% cap on annual increases in public sector pay.