Forcing GPs to fund training 'illegal'

Welsh Assembly government plans to use GP pay to fund nurses' training are illegal, according to GPC Wales.

A Community Nursing Strategy for Wales, published in March, proposes removing funding from GPs' global sums to pay for practice nurses to go on training courses.

GPC chairman Dr David Bailey told GP newspaper the document contained 'a number of completely unacceptable proposals'.

'It's almost certainly illegal,' he said. 'The government wants to interfere with our employed staff and our contract.

'It wants to take money from our global sum to pay for nurses to go off on courses.'

GPs in Wales already receive on average 20 per cent less than their English colleagues, despite being 'the sickest nation in the UK', Gwent GP Dr Neil Statham told the Welsh LMCs conference in Swansea on Saturday.

The document suggests that all practice nurses be employed directly by local health boards to ensure equal training and career prospects are available to all.

Dr Sean Young, representing Morgannwg LMC, said that practices nurses were 'horrified' by the document.

'The government wants to take control of our practice nurses,' he said.

A consultation on the strategy is due to end in June.

The conference passed a motion calling for GPs to be at the centre of primary care nursing teams. Moving health visitors and community nurses out of GP practices had already adversely affected continuity of health provision, it was agreed.

'We need a strategy that takes community nursing in Wales forward,' said Dr Bailey.

'Sadly, A Community Nursing Strategy for Wales is not it.

'We have completed a detailed commentary on this bonkers strategy and I urge all GPs to respond to this consultation,' he said.

Opening the annual Welsh LMCs conference, Dr Bailey warned that most practices would receive less than a quarter of this year's headline pay award, due to Wales' high reliance on MPIG.

GPs in Wales are also due to suffer heavy losses this year due to the changes to the prevalence formula. More than a dozen practices will lose over £20,000 a year, said Dr Bailey.

A motion was passed calling for funding for indicators removed from the QOF to be added to core funding, to recognise the ever increasing amount of routine work.

tom.ireland@haymarket.com

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