GP trainees exceed quota following recruitment drive; AMs argue it’s still not enough

(Title Image: Powys Health Board)

The Health Minister, Vaughan Gething (Lab, Cardiff S. & Penarth), told the Senedd yesterday that the Welsh Government’s “Train, Work, Live” recruitment drive has resulted in the number of trainee GPs exceeding the original number of training places.

186 training places were filled despite an original allocation of 160; 7 places were filled for Pembrokeshire (compared to 0 in 2016) and three schemes across north Wales filled 28 places despite an original 22 place allocation. Some medical specialities which have experiences shortages in recent years, like psychiatry, have seen training places fully-booked too.

A new register of locum GPs has been set up as part of measures to incentivise doctors to become full-time salaried GPs or partners.

Shadow Health Minister, Angela Burns AM (Con, Carms. W. & S. Pembs.), said that while the signs are positive, there were still gaps in the nursing workforce, with NHS Wales spending £63million on agency nurses in 2018-19.

Helen Mary Jones AM (Plaid, Mid & West Wales) heard from a cross-party group that there were no higher-level trainee doctors for stroke services. She also called for more accurate advice to be offered to students considering applying for medical school.

Dr Hefin David AM (Lab, Caerphilly) warned that a GP surgery in his constituency wasn’t just facing a GP shortage but also a shortage of other professionals in primary care. Caroline Jones AM (BXP, South Wales West) raised concerns about the up to a quarter of GPs in Wales retiring or leaving the profession – or expected to do so – in the next five years.

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