BMA heatmap reveals scores of struggling GP practices across Wales

Nearly one in five GP practices in Wales are at risk of closure, have been taken over by a health board, or already closed within the past two years according to data gathered by the BMA.

A BMA Wales heatmap of under-pressure practices across the country reveals that 58 practices are 'at risk'. Half of these practices have submitted applications to their health board for 'sustainability' funding support.

Health boards have taken direct control of 18 practices where partners have handed back their contracts, and five practices have closed within the past two years the data show.

Official government data shows that there were 441 GP practices in Wales - suggesting that struggling practices highlighted in the BMA data make up nearly a fifth of the total number in the country.

GPC Wales chair Dr Charlotte Jones said: 'The number of practices "at risk" in Wales changes on a regular basis, but it is clear to see the number has increased. This is of grave concern and reflects the pressures facing practices, which vary considerably across Wales.

GP crisis

'GPC Wales encourages struggling practices to seek help early on by contacting their LMC for support and professional advice, as well as completing the Sustainability Assessment Framework to allow practices to take a comprehensive view of their current position.

'Any practice struggling should apply to their health board for support. This may be financial, administrative or managerial, and LMCs are represented at the sustainability panel meetings.

'The amount of help offered by health boards to struggling practices differs across Wales, with some receiving excellent support, enabling their situation to be turned around. Sadly, other practices report a very different response. We continue to work to actively to address both the problems facing practices, as well as pushing to ensure practices receive the support they need from health boards.

'GPC Wales has produced guidance to highlight areas of business and pastoral support to practices, including links to LMCs, GPC Wales and a doctors’ advisor service.'

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