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Plan to pay university fees for new GPs in Wales

The Welsh Government is considering repaying the university fees of new doctors who commit to general practice

Ingrid Torjesen

Friday, 17 July 2015

Medical graduates who commit to a career in general practice could have their university fees reimbursed under a plan to boost GP recruitment in Wales.

A number of measures for strengthening the primary care workforce to deliver new models of care and look after more people close to their homes have been suggested by Health and Social Services Minister Mark Drakeford in a primary workforce plan published today.

The Welsh government want to boost numbers of GPs and community nurses in Wales and other measures suggested by the health minister include expanding the GP retainer scheme, which offers flexible working opportunities to encourage professionals thinking of retiring to stay in work part-time

A national GP recruitment campaign promoting the benefits of a career in Wales has been launched and the government is also considering changing the law to make it easier for GPs registered to work in England to work in Wales for short periods of time without the need to make a full application to join a Welsh health board’s performers list.

The plan, which is backed by an extra £4.5m of funding, supports the continued development of the 64 primary care clusters across Wales, which include GPs working with pharmacists, dentists, optometrists, therapists, nurses and healthcare workers.

The plan calls for a more robust and joined-up approach to workforce planning, including greater sharing of information, which will help redesign ways of providing care outside hospitals, and the government wants to encourage medical schools to increase the proportion of general practice and community placements medical students experience.

Professor Drakeford said: “Our goal is to meet the rising demand for healthcare by making the most of the skills our dedicated primary care workforce already have and supporting them in their continued desire to innovate and improve the services they provide every day.

“This can be achieved by bringing together teams of people with the necessary skills to meet the needs of people and the local communities they serve. It is also important that everyone in those teams works at the top of their clinical competence – they only do what only they can do.

“This prudent healthcare approach to developing our primary care workforce will improve access to care and the continuity and quality of that care. It is also central to rebalancing the workload of all those who work in primary care so roles and services are sustainable and can adapt to meet future demand.”

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