Posted: Wed 10th Jul 2024

Demand for GP appointments in Wrexham remains at post-covid high for people living in or visiting the Wrexham area

Demand for GP appointments across Wrexham continues to be “significantly above pre-covid levels”.

That is according to a report due before members of Wrexham Council’s safeguarding, communities and wellbeing scrutiny committee this afternoon (4pm).

The annual meeting will see councillors grill representatives from the Welsh Ambulance Service Trust (WAST) and Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board.

Both bodies have struggled with increased pressure in recent years, with many patients left facing long waiting times for GP appointments and an ambulance response.

This has worsened since the coronavirus pandemic with GP practices and hospitals dealing with the impact of growing backlog and rising demand.

This afternoon’s report notes that demand on primary care across the county’s 19 practices “continues to be significantly above pre Covid levels, especially for same day appointment requests and for ongoing chronic illness management.”

It adds that recruitment across all staff groups “remains a challenge” for both GMS and managed practices.

The rising cost of living is also continuing to have an impact on primary care, with practices seeing an increase in energy costs, building and estate costs, rent, repairs and a drop in support from the third sector.

These factors, the report states, leads to a risk that “more partners will reduce their hours or resign from practice resulting in an
increase in both single handed practices and practice handbacks.”

In a bid to address workforce issues the report notes that there will be an “expansion in the number of medical students at Bangor University who will study across north Wales and at the Wrexham Campus.”

This will be alongside developing student and trainees placements across Health Board Practices.

Today’s meeting will also see representatives from the Welsh Ambulance Service face questions over its performance.

In May 2024 just 45.8 per cent of of immediately life-threatening calls in Wales received an emergency response from the ambulance service within eight minutes.

This was 2.2 percentage points lower than in April.

This afternoon’s meeting will see representatives from the Welsh Ambulance Service provide an update on measures put in place to “reduce the current operational pressures, demand and response times” across the county borough.

Further details are also expected to be provided on progress on several areas raised by the committee in the July 2023 meeting.

This includes work to improve handover times, staff sickness and absence levels and additional employment.

Ahead of the meeting a presentation detailing the progress in primary care over the last 12 months has been released.

Pressures facing the Welsh Ambulance Service and issues surrounding GP practices and recruitment will be debated by members of the council’s safeguarding, communities and wellbeing scrutiny committee at 4pm.

The meeting will also be webcast live on the Wrexham Council website.

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