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‘GP recruitment crisis? What crisis?,’ asks minister

First minister Carwyn Jones has claimed there is no recruitment crisis in Wales, prompting criticism by GP leaders ahead of this weekend’s LMC conference.

Mr Jones told the Daily Post last week that ‘we have got more doctors and nurses than ever before’, and that salaried GPs are stepping in when partners quit.

But Welsh GPC chair Dr Charlotte Jones said workforce is one of the biggest issues facing Wales ahead of her speech to the Welsh LMCs Conference this weekend.

And the RCGP accused Mr Jones of being ‘in denial’, adding there were not enough GPs coming through.

The first minister said: ‘There will be issues from time to time where a GP decides to stop but that service then is carried on by salaried GP.

‘From our point I don’t think there is a crisis with recruitment, we have got more doctors and nurses than ever.’

But RCGP Wales chair Dr Rebecca Payne dismissed his claims.

She said: ‘A number of practices have recently been taken over by the local health board because GPs have left due to workload and growing patient list sizes. And there simply aren’t enough new GPs coming through to replace those who have left.

‘The first minister seems to be in denial of the situation facing our colleagues in north Wales. GP provision in the north is getting worse, and increasingly patients are bearing the brunt of this.’

The row comes ahead of the annual Welsh LMC conference in Chester this weekend, where GPC Wales chair Dr Charlotte Jones will say in her speech that ’workload, workforce and resources’ are the three most powerful strains affecting general practice.

She will say that more GPs are needed, and that ‘innovative solutions’ are required to discourage GPs from deserting the profession.

She said: ‘In my speech I will be focussing on what needs to be done in three significant areas – workload, workforce and resources. There are positive about the things GPs have achieved, but we also need more momentum and energy.’

Attendees at the LMC conference will debate whether the QOF should be scrapped.

They will also call for the GPC, the Welsh Government to agree on a formal definition of a ‘manageable workload’, and for general practice to be classified as a ‘shortage occupation’ across the UK.