GPs must benefit from £240m NHS funding rise in Wales, warns BMA

The BMA has called on the Welsh government to ensure general practice receives increased investment in 2017/18, after it announced a £240m NHS funding boost for next year.

The Welsh government’s draft budget shows that an additional £240m will be spent on the nation’s NHS in 2017/18.

A specific sum for general practice is not detailed, but the budget says it will be in part invested to ‘enable NHS organisations to…deliver more care in primary and community care’.

It adds that the Welsh government will ‘set in place plans for the recruitment and training of additional GPs and other primary healthcare professionals’.

The BMA called on the government to ensure that general practice is sufficiently recognised in the final budget. Welsh first minister Carwyn Jones has previously refused to acknowledge general practice is facing a ‘crisis’.

The call comes after Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon announced she will invest 11% of NHS funding into primary care within the next five years, and RCGP analysis showed general practice in England was on course to receive the same share by 2020.

Welsh general practice

The draft budget shows the £240m will include a £7m to boost healthcare professional education including medical schools, £15m for diagnostic equipment, £20m for mental health services and £1m to establish eating disorder and gender identity provision in Wales.

BMA Wales chair Dr Phil Banfield said: ‘BMA Cymru Wales welcomes the Welsh government’s recognition of the difficulties in which all public sector services are being delivered.

‘The commitment to spend more on health next year redresses a previous underspend. The benefit of this commitment must be maximised by ensuring that health boards work proactively to get the money quickly to the front line services.

‘BMA Cymru Wales has continually called for a greater investment in medical training places across Wales, to ensure the future sustainability of the NHS. It is essential that more doctors are supported to train in Wales and that the offer available to them is sufficient to retain them in Wales as their careers progress.

‘Further to this, we know that general practice in particular is facing unprecedented challenges. We hope that in delivering this budget the government will ensure that sufficient investment is made in supporting primary care services.’

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