The GP contract should be used to help drive an overhaul of health and social care, an interim report to the Welsh Government has recommended.
An independent review has made several recommendations to put in place a more ‘seamless’ system in Wales and provide more care closer to home.
The review chair Dr Ruth Hussey laid out a plan to improve the health and wellbeing of the population, improve the experience and quality of care, boosting wellbeing and engagement of staff, and get better value for money.
She called for much quicker adoption of new models of care based around more effective community-based services and a shift of resources towards early help and support for people at home.
The GP contract, currently under negotiation between the BMA, Welsh government and NHS Wales, is one of the levers that should be used to make sure change happens, the report said.
It also pointed to a current lack of primary care representation on health board executives and called for an independent NHS Wales executive.
A long-term plan for health and social care is due to be published in the Spring and will take into account the report’s recommendations, the Government said.
Dr David Bailey, BMA Welsh Council Chair, said they were particularly pleased to see the recommendation that the national executive function in NHS Wales needs to be strengthened and that medical engagement must be a priority.
‘The report has recommended that a captivating vision for the future of health and care in Wales is created – something our members have long called for – so we are pleased Welsh Government has announced that a plan will be published in the Spring.’
Dr Rebecca Payne, RCGP Wales chair, said the report addressed ‘deep-rooted challenges’ that were holding back progress in the Welsh NHS and its recommendations should be implemented at once.
‘It acknowledges the significant workforce challenges that many NHS professions are facing, which we can see clearly in general practice and why we’ve asked for an increase to 200 GP training places a year.
She added: ‘It also recognises that engaging and supporting the workforce is vital if we are to see improvement, noting the difficulty in making change on the ground given current management and leadership structures.
‘The report restates the view that Wales needs to reorient the balance between community care and acute care, strengthening primary care.
‘A thriving primary care sector, with general practice at its core, will deliver better patient outcomes across Wales.’