The Welsh Government has pledged an extra £4.5m of funding for a range of measures for primary care, which will include reimbursing medical school fees when a newly qualified doctor commits to a career in general practice.
Health minister Professor Mark Drakeford spelled out his strategy to look after people close to their homes and move more services out of hospitals by boosting general practice.
As part of the measures, the Welsh Government will change the law to make it easier for GPs who are registered to work in England to work in Wales for short periods of time without the need to make a full application to join a Welsh health board’s performers list.
The Government also wants to expand the GP retainer scheme, which offers flexible working opportunities, to encourage professionals thinking of retiring to stay in work part-time.
Other initiatives include launching a national GP recruitment campaign promoting the benefits of a career in Wales and working with medical schools to increase the proportion of general practice and community placements medical students experience.
Professor Drakeford said that a prudent healthcare approach to developing Wales’ primary care workforce would ‘improve access to care and the continuity and quality of that care’.
‘It is also central to rebalancing the workload of all those who work in primary care so roles and services are sustainable and can adapt to meet future demand,’ he added.
The Welsh Government’s strategy for primary care
- Increasing the number of Welsh Government-funded places on return-to-nursing practice courses.
- Investing in advanced and extended skills, including non-medical prescribing and advance practice education.
- Working with health boards and universities to develop an education and training programme for physician associates in Wales.
- Establishing how Wales can move to a position where multiprofessional training becomes the norm for centrally funded NHS education programmes.
- Expanding the range of care settings in which training can be carried out and build on the experiences of learning wards in community settings.
- Analysing existing and future Welsh language population needs and the support needed by the workforce to meet those needs.
- Setting up a national programme of organisational development for the 64 primary care clusters.