Posted: Fri 15th Mar 2024

A view from Plaid Cymru’s North Wales Member of the Senedd for people living in or visiting the Wrexham area
This article is old - Published: Friday, Mar 15th, 2024 has invited Wrexham & Clwyd South Members of Parliament and Members of the Senedd to write a monthly article with updates on their work in their respective Parliaments and closer to home – you can find them all here.

In this month’s column Plaid Cymru’s Llyr Gruffydd MS writes:

The pressures facing GPs in the North were brought into very sharp relief during a meeting held in Wrexham last week. GPs from a variety of practices across Wrexham and Flintshire joined me and four other Senedd Members from the region to discuss the crisis they face.

Although 90% of NHS contacts come via primary care (GPs), the sector accounts for only 5% of NHS spending.

This is down significantly as a proportion of health spending in recent years – an example of how GPs are considered a Cinderella service by those on the frontline.

It’s little wonder, then, that GPs are finding it more and more difficult to recruit partners to join them.

I was recently in Hanmer to visit an award-winning practice in a building that’s not fit for purpose.

The GP and staff want to enter the 21st Century in terms of facilities but have spent more than a decade trying to persuade Betsi Cadwaladr health board managers to fund a new surgery building.

It’s a huge frustration that a practice that wants to improve and expand to train more doctors for the future is unable to do so because of these physical constraints.

Other GPs have other location problems – one purpose-built site in Deeside was built under the Private Finance Initiative and is causing absolute misery for the GP practice based there.

The PFI is a thoroughly discredited way in which private financiers have profited from public services – charging way over the odds for buildings that saddle public services with huge financial commitments for decades. In this case, the private landlord has quadrupled rents putting the GP practice under huge unnecessary pressure.

The GPs were keen to point out that, with their minimal funding pots, they are able to deliver effective preventative care that ensures that there are fewer A&E visits and admissions to hospital wards.

However, those funding pots are subject to sudden changes when GPs and their patients would value a longer-term plan for health in the region.

It’s time this Cinderella service was given the attention it deserves because it plays a hugely important strategic role in delivering better health care. The matters raised are being made aware to the new management team leading the health board, who have shown a real willingness to respond positively to the challenges they face across the entire NHS regionally.

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