Today Roger Williams MP used Prime Minister’s Questions to highlight the current difficulty GP practices face in recruitment in rural areas.
Roger Williams MP said:
“I visited a number or rural GP practices in Brecon and Radnorshire and have found that they almost all have difficulty in recruiting GPs. The practices are small by modern standards and when partner leaves it makes a big hole in the capacity of the practice. Any difficulty then in recruiting or a delay in making a successful appointment puts pressure on the remaining members of that practice.
“In some cases it could almost lead to a practice failing and that would be a major health crisis in primary care for my constituency. There is a national problem with GP recruitment as less trainee medics opt for General Practice as a career choice.
“I asked David Cameron what the Westminster Government can do to work with the Welsh Government to encourage the training and recruitment of GPs, particularly in rural areas. I was pleased that David Cameron replied that he was willing to work with the Welsh Government to tackle this issue.
“I used Prime Minister’s Questions as a number of these practices, whether based in England or Wales, serve patients from both nations. I am particularly concerned at the moment about reports that the Kington Surgery is having difficulty in recruiting. This is the hub of the medical service that so many of my constituents use. The Kington Surgery did at one time have a clinic in New Radnor, but that closed when the building was found to be inadequate. This was a real blow for people living in that area and any threat to Kington would be disastrous.
“I will be writing to the Deanery in Wales to see what they are doing to encourage young students to opt for General Practice and I will also be writing to the Royal College of General Practitioners. This is not a problem limited to Mid Wales, but one being felt throughout the whole of rural Britain.”
During Prime Minister’s Questions:
General practitioner recruitment is a problem nationally but particularly for rural practices. Many GP practices on both sides of the England-Wales border serve patients from both nations. What can the Government in Westminster do, through working constructively with the Welsh Government, to promote training and recruitment of GPs so these practices remain viable and sustainable?
The Prime Minister:
One of the things we can do is share ideas with the Welsh Assembly Government. One thing we are pioneering here is making sure newly qualified doctors are offered special payments if they become GPs, and this is part of a £10 million plan we have to recruit even more. In England we have 1,000 more GPs working than we did back in 2010, and I hope the NHS in Wales will, while it is underfunded by the Labour Government in Wales, look at creative ideas like this.