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CAMHS won't see you now

Whole region risks 'losing general practice' due to GP shortage

The majority of areas in North Wales are at risk of losing general practice provision altogether if recruitment problems are not addressed urgently, the LMC chair has warned.

In a letter to Welsh Assembly Members, Dr Eamonn Jessup said a situation they had warned about a few years ago was now coming to pass.

‘Wrexham now has six large practices that have lost their GPs,’ Dr Jessup said.

‘The [health board] are directly managing these practices, along with many others across North Wales.’

He adds: ‘The number of practices moving to "managed status" seems to have picked up significant speed in the last few months.’

The letter points out that North Wales is significantly more affected by the problems facing general practice than the rest of the country with practices unable to recruit GPs and that the ‘domino effect that has long been forecast is now seriously looming on the horizon’.

Many GPs in the area are leaving the profession prematurely through retirement, resignation or emigration, he says.

Dr Jessup points out that Colwyn Bay, Conwy and Llandudno now have practices either currently managed or about to become managed.

And the Lleyn peninsula is also badly affected, with Criccieth practice recently handing in their notice.

With health board run practices costing around a third more to run, the growing number will have a ‘significant impact on the health economy of the region’, he warns AMs.

Out of hours is also struggling with stretched services that have large gaps in provision.

The LMC is calling on cross-party action to address the fundamental problems behind the crisis.

‘Just this week, we were distressed to hear that trainee posts appear to have been withdrawn from the pool that exists in North Wales.

‘Good candidates have moved up to North Wales in anticipation of applying for these posts and are left disappointed by this seemingly precipitous decision,’ he said.

Dr Jessup explains: ‘The low level of numbers of posts over many years has left the region with a serious deficit of younger GPs amongst our cohort.’

The result he adds is a ‘second class system’ in North Wales which has been ‘disproportionately badly affected’ by recruitment problems.

In addition to an expansion of training schemes, the LMC called for better support for the traditional model of practice ‘as the most economically viable way to deliver Primary Care’.

Readers' comments (20)

  • AlanAlmond

    I'm fully expecting NICE guidelines on Managment of illness in the absence of Drs. That's a guideline they could fully put to use in North Wales.

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  • David Banner

    The Past - lots of GP partners with a few nurses
    The Future - lots of nurses with a few salaried GPs
    The Present - chaos.
    The plan to starve partnerships to death is taking too long, and there aren't enough nurses in the pipeline to replace them any way.. Hunt needs a Plan B. Maybe offering crown indemnity to salaried GPs and primary care nurses would finish the job?

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  • Nobody want to know what GPs are loosing!
    open private clinic there, I am sure people will pay and give you more respect.

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  • Very wet in North Wales

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  • My understanding has been that regions via MCP/Vanguard funding have tried to push nurses into more front end roles, however this has been stopped by lack of nurses and the indemnity associated with nurse led care.
    Practices which historically cut corners using unsupported nurses are suddenly finding those nurses and the NMC advising adequate supervision and named indemnity cover.

    Again qualified GPs turn out to be very (too?) cheap for the roles, expertise and experience they bring.

    New ideas are being tried out all the time, but you can't hide from the evidence that keep coming back from all these Pilots and trials.

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  • We're all happy to pay a Finacial Advisor £150/ hour to take care of our cash, so a similar hourly rate to take care of our health would not be unreasonable. Some of us pay £300 plus a year to keep our central heating running. A decent, fair contract is the solution and then we might get back to the situation where there are lots of candidates for posts.

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  • Problem too is inactivity from some LMCs. Really need to get a grip on this. Collaborate with HBs more, look for innovative solutions! Just handing back the contract sets wrong example !

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  • When will the Government admit that in most areas Genearl practice is grinding to a halt.
    I have to wait 3 weeks to see a GP myself
    Only when patients pay will they appreciate a service.Most people are happy to pay for their pet to see a vet
    In Ireland and New Zealand which are comparable countries patients pay a small fee to be seen.

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  • Here there is no overburden of patients...the more the better and more money. Use the nurses ECPs and forget doctors.

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    Get the footballers to see the patients. Paid much better ..

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