GPs in Wales secure new occupational health services

GPs in Wales have been given access to NHS occupational health (OH) services for the first time after a £200,000 investment by the Welsh Government.

Dr Charlotte Jones said the move was a 'step in the right direction'
Dr Charlotte Jones said the move was a 'step in the right direction'

From April all GPs will be able to access the same OH services from local health boards as directly employed NHS staff, including time with an occupational health consultant and a range of wellbeing and health services. 

GPC Wales chairwoman Dr Charlotte Jones welcomed the new arrangement as a ‘step in the right direction’, but called for the services to cover the wider primary care team.

The move, first announced as part of the Welsh Government’s primary care workforce plan in November 2015, forms part of a wider review of how OH services are delivered including those for GPs and the wider primary care team.

Welsh health minister Professor Mark Drakeford said: ‘I very much value the work GPs do to care for people across Wales. In return, I want to ensure GPs have access to services which ensure their health and wellbeing needs are taken care of.

‘We already invest in the Health for Health Professionals service for all doctors in Wales and this additional £200,000 investment ensures all GPs will have access to comprehensive occupational health and wellbeing services.’

Dr Jones said: ‘Occupational health services are a crucial part of ensuring that the health of the workforce is optimised and maintained by enabling those with health problems or disabilities to remain in work with appropriate adjustments or, where there are severe and long-term health issues, to fairly leave employment. 

‘GPC Wales is looking forward to receiving the findings of the wider review, and has already recommended to Welsh Government that the service should be extended to incorporate the entire primary care team.’

Photo: Ray Farley

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