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Welsh GPs' working misery

Box-ticking and mountains of paperwork are making the working lives of GPs in Wales miserable.

A survey of practices by the Welsh Liberal Democrats also found many GPs were struggling in substandard or small premises.

Of the 53 practices that responded, half were working above their capacity.

Welsh Liberal Democrats health spokesperson Jenny Randerson said: 'The overwhelming message is that GPs are concerned at moving away from patient-centred care to ticking boxes and earning points.'

Many practices said they wanted to provide extra services, especially mental health and dermatology.

GPs also called for 'golden hellos' to boost recruitment in the most under-doctored areas.

Dr Gareth Hayes, Cardiff LMC member, said much of the extra paperwork was a result of the QOF and signified the better care GPs were offering in recording things like blood pressure.

Welsh Liberal Democrats policy of wanting to build more one-stop-shop primary care facilities and more walk-in centres to ease pressure on GPs would not work, he added.

Dr Hayes said: 'There is no evidence walk-in centres reduce demand on GPs. If GPs are based in hubs it can reduce choice and convenience because patients travel further.'

Ms Randerson said the Welsh Assembly Government had to force local health boards to give more priority to primary care.

Welsh GPs' complaints

'There is less contact with patients, more with papers. Until two years ago we had one shredder in our practice. Now we have eight.'

(urban practice)

'There is a lot of temptation to cheat with the QOF.'

(large practice near Merthyr Tydfil)

'The contract has made out-of-hours work very attractive as a calmer option for lazy doctors.'

(large rural practice)

'Our newest partner was attracted to the practice partly by the promise of new premises. If we do not get them there is the risk we may not be able to retain him.'

(large practice in Flintshire)

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