Health bosses in Wales are launching a ‘major’ international and national recruitment campaign to attract more GPs to live and work in Wales, including English GPs.
The health secretary said so-called ‘recruitment champions’, including the RCGP, will help sell the idea of working in Wales to doctors who are thinking of relocating there and the Government is already trying to find GPs to help.
The campaign is launching at a London careers fair next month, suggesting that the campaign is partly aimed at English GPs.
Vaughan Gething said that the Government will offer an incentive scheme to new doctors, and promised to continue to reduce bureaucracy through the reduction of QOF as part of its ‘Welsh offer’.
In England, NHS England said in the GP Forward View that it would target around 400 international GPs.
But the statement from Mr Gethring revealed that Wales is making proactive moves to recruit international GPs now, and is kicking off the campaign at next month’s careers fair.
He said: ‘We have developed plans for a major national and international recruitment campaign to market Wales and NHS Wales as an attractive place for doctors, including GPs and their families to train, work and live.’
The campaign is part of a ‘longer-term, sustained campaign to attract more doctors to Wales,’ said Mr Gething.
Mr Gething said the plans bring together health boards and trusts under the NHS Wales banner to help plug the gap in GP numbers.
He told Assembly members that the Government is working with the Welsh deanery to create an incentive scheme for a limited number of GP posts as part of its package to help areas with particular challenges filling trainee posts.
It is also looking at ways of reducing workload and coming up with solutions to professional indemnity.
RCGP Wales chair DR Rebecca Payne said: ‘It’s a welcome first step on the journey. If this is where we end up there’s going to be a problem.’
However, she said moves to debunk misconceptions such as needing to speak Welsh to work there could help attract more doctors.
She also welcomed moves to cut the burden of professional indemnity.
‘It’s such a massive burden. A solution to that would be brilliant it would release extra capacity.’