Welsh GP services will ‘collapse’ without additional funding

General practice in Wales is at risk of ‘collapse’ without additional funding to support doctors struggling with the rising demand for services.

The chair of the Royal College of GPs (RCGP) in Wales has warned that general practice will “collapse” without additional resources from the government, as under recruitment and an ageing population increases the pressure on stretched services.

Dr Paul Myers, chair of the Welsh RCGP, said that problems with recruitment and a rising workload for GPs were being exacerbated by a drop in primary care funding, urging the government to allocate additional resources or see the services crumble.

“The problem is really serious,” said Dr Myers. “What I am hearing from practices really reflects my own experiences in terms of an increase in workload and a lack of resources.”

The RCGP is asking the government for an increase in funding by 2017 or “there is a danger general practice will collapse.”

Dr Myers’ comments follow warnings from the chair of the British Medical Association’s Welsh General Practitioners Committee that GP services were in “intensive care”.

Speaking during an annual conference last month, Dr Charlotte Jones described general practice as being “in crisis”, with the difficulty in recruitment causing problems for services throughout the country.

She also criticised the government for failing to act: “The Welsh government cannot simply stick its head in the sand hoping it will go away.”  

A spokesman from the government acknowledged the issues in general practice recruitment and said they were currently working with other professional organisations on plans to ensure Wales was promoted as “an attractive place to live and work”.

The plans include “developing new training and recruitment schemes for GPs, considering different contractor models and looking at how the skills of the whole primary care team can be better used.”