Prescription for Welsh Health

A GP survey addressing the sustainability of practices in Wales has unearthed serious concerns. The survey, which forms part of a wider campaign to tackle unprecedented pressures facing general practice, saw an overwhelming number of respondents (82.1%) reporting that they are worried about the sustainability of their practice. Launched on 12th October by BMA Cymru Wales’ General Practitioner Committee (GPCW), the campaign – an urgent prescription for general practice in Wales – highlights the challenges faced by GPs, and offers the Welsh Government some urgent solutions to address them. Findings underlined frustration within the profession; GPs facing the strain of working in understaffed practices; practitioners considering reducing their working hours to manage growing pressures; or leaving the profession entirely. Findings also revealed the following: • An overwhelming number of respondents (82.1%) reported that they are worried about the sustainability of their practice. • 61.4% of respondents indicated that they do not have a good work life balance. Additionally 58.1% answered a supplementary question indicating that their work-life balance had worsened in the last 12 months. • Almost three quarters (74.8%) of respondents reported that the health of staff within their practice had already been impacted negatively by workload. • Worryingly, almost half (49.6%) said they would not recommend a career in general practice, however throughout their written answers noted their dedication and the potential for general practice to be a positive place to work. • 27.1 % indicated they are considering a career change and 13.8% are considering moving abroad. Dr Charlotte Jones, Chair of BMA Cymru Wales’ GP Committee (GPCW), said: “There is a significant gap between the demand placed upon general practice and its capacity. The profession is forced to try and cope with inadequate resources, an unsustainable workload and a workforce under considerable strain, across the whole of Wales.” GPCW has produced a solutions document outlining issues highlighted by the profession and urgent areas for action. Key areas that must be addressed comprise recruitment, workforce models, workload, finance, clusters and sustainability. GPCW is calling for the capacity to see and spend time with patients; increased practice funding; more staff to support GPs; and less box ticking.