Welsh Lib Dems promise £10m GP access fund and rural recruitment support

The Welsh Liberal Democrats would invest an extra £10m in a GP access fund, hand budget control to clusters and support rural recruitment, the party's manifesto for next month's assembly election has revealed.

Welsh Assembly building (Photo: iStock)
Welsh Assembly building (Photo: iStock)

Lauching her party’s campaign pledges at a GP practice in Penarth, Vale of Glamorgan, Lib Dem leader Kirsty Williams said people were having to wait three weeks for appointments in Wales.

The party held just five out of 60 seats before the assembly was dissolved for the 5 May election and was on 6% in a YouGov/Times poll published 12 April.

The manifesto said patients should be ‘guaranteed the best treatment, in the right place, at the right time to meet their health needs’.

GP access

‘We will invest £10m in a GP Access Fund to improve access to general practice including through extended opening hours and innovative ways of providing care services.’

The party also promised to make it easier for patients to register at practices near their workplace, and to develop alternative ways, using technology, to connect GPs and patients.

GP federations and clusters should be supported and given ‘decision-making powers with delegated budgets’, the manifesto added.

A Lib Dem government would also work to create a unified GP performers list with England to help ease shortages and recruitment.

GP recruitment

The party would also focus GP recruitment on rural areas by encouraging school students into medicine, developing e-learning for students in rural areas, developing university departments of rural medicine and a centre of excellence in rural healthcare including rural and remote medicine training pathways, and establishing networks of students and new practitioners to provide professional support such as help finding housing, financial support for relocation and the establishment of rural practice networks.

Earlier this month the outgoing Labour government announced an additional £43m funding for primary care, including £26m for local health boards to implement their local plans for moving care closer to people’s homes and £10m will be handed directly to Wales’s 64 primary care clusters.

The announcement was welcomed by GPC Wales.

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