Responding to this week’s Workforce Plan announced by the Welsh Government, a spokesperson for RCGP Cymru Wales said:
“RCGP welcomes a Wales-wide workforce plan and is encouraged by the proposals to improve the use of technology and promote diversity. In particular we are delighted that our Leadership Programme is to be reinstated this year.
The reality of the pressure in general practice today feels a very long way from the ideals of the workforce plan. To achieve a shift to a truly sustainable Welsh NHS will take bravery from decision-makers.
The plan falls short of setting any clear targets regarding expanding the workforce. Pre-pandemic Wales was served by 404 GP surgeries, there are now 18 fewer. The most valuable data regarding total GP numbers is the full-time equivalent figure and this has only been published since December 2021. Even so, we can see a worrying pattern with there being 49 less FTE GPs in Wales in June ’22 than was the case just 6 months earlier. That is a deeply worrying trajectory. An RCGP survey of members last year found that 33% of GPs did not expect to still be in the profession in five years’ time. The alarm bells have long been ringing.
A robust and deliverable workforce plan is essential. We have had some initial constructive discussions and we look forward to the forthcoming Primary Care Plan. We hope this will deliver a specific recruitment and retention strategy for GPs including recognising much-needed investment in the primary care estate to allow sufficient space to train the next generation of GPs.”
Policy and Public Affairs Manager
Tel: 073 4173 7034
Notes to editor
The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 54,000 family doctors, including 2,100 GPs in Wales working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.