Extra £43m primary care funding for Wales welcomed by GP leaders

GP leaders have welcomed an announcement of an additional £43m investment in primary care over the next year in Wales.

The Welsh government said the money would be used to improve access to primary care and continue the move of services out of hospital into the community.

While £26m of the money will be made available to local health boards to help implement their local plans for moving care closer to people’s homes, £10m will be handed directly to Wales’s 64 primary care clusters.

The GP practice groups, which incorporate wider primary care and community teams, plan and provide services in local communities in Wales.

GP cluster funding

The £10m builds on £6m in funding given to clusters last year. The government said the funding would allow clusters to develop further, and build on work work bringing together skilled, multi-disciplinary teams of professionals to deliver care in or close to people’s homes, and freeing up GP time for people with more complex needs.

GPC Wales was ‘heartened’ by the new investment in general practice and clusters, chairwoman Dr Charlotte Jones said.

‘These additional monies  confirm the Welsh government's commitment to deliver more care closer to a patient's home, and will also help with enabling a sustainable general practice going forward.

‘We have long called for additional investment so this announcement is to be welcomed.’

Welsh health minister Professor Mark Drakeford said: ‘Our vision for primary care is for more services to be delivered in local communities, closer to people’s homes, with care being delivered by a range of skilled healthcare professionals working together as a team.

Primary care closer to home

‘The £43m primary care fund for 2016/17 builds on the significant multi-million pound investment we have made in recent years. It will focus on service sustainability, improving access and to moving more services out of hospitals into primary care.

‘I am particularly pleased to be able to make £10m – an extra £4m this year – which will be allocated directly to Wales’ 64 primary care clusters, to support their development and boost local primary care services.’

Additional investment allocations include:

  • £3.8m in 2016/17 for a national programme of projects which look at new and innovative ways of planning, organising and delivering the wide range of services which make up primary care.
  • £720,000 a year to support joint work in Aneurin Bevan and Cwm Taf university health boards to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease in communities where people are at an increased risk.
  • £500,000 a year for the expansion of the academic fellows’ scheme, which allows doctors with an interest in academic research to combine their medical duties with time in a university research environment.
  • £428,000 for Aneurin Bevan, Cwm Taf, Hywel Dda and Powys health boards for their pathfinder schemes to treat wet age-related macular degeneration in local communities, outside hospital settings.

Photo: Ray Farley

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