New Welsh GPs contract includes extra services

By Owain Clarke
BBC Wales health correspondent

Image source, Thinkstock

GPs in Wales will get £27m extra in the next financial year, Health Secretary Vaughan Gething has announced.

But as part of a new agreement, negotiated with doctors' leaders, the Welsh Government has said surgeries will be expected to deliver a range of extra services.

The deal means family doctors will get a 1% pay rise and 1.4% extra to cover expenses and surgery costs.

There will also be extra cash for sickness and parental leave.

More money will also be available to help pay for the personal insurance GPs need to practice - which is becoming more expensive.

The Welsh Government has said the combined increase of 2.7% in pay and expenses is higher than in previous years.

GPs' pay is set out by a contract struck between doctors and the NHS and also includes money for running their surgeries and sets out what services they need to provide in return.

In 2016/17 it was 2.2% and the rise was 1.16% the year before that.

But surgeries will be expected to use additional cash to deliver a range extra services including:

  • "An enhanced service" to all 22,700 nursing and residential care home residents in Wales
  • A more comprehensive package of diabetes care
  • Better monitoring of patients who are prescribed warfarin - a drug that prevents blood clots

The new agreement sets out the money GP surgeries will get in the next financial year.

Previously, contracts have covered a two-year period.

GP leaders have said the shorter-term deal had been agreed while more far-reaching changes to their contract are discussed.

Media caption,
More cash for GPs will help patients, says the health secretary

Negotiations will focus on improving access to services and reducing bureaucracy.

They added that family doctors continued to face "extraordinary pressures" dealing with the needs of an aging and growing population.

Mr Gething said: "In Wales, our collaborative approach to the challenge of providing high-quality healthcare sets us apart.

"We have worked closely with our GP colleagues to create solutions that deliver the best care for patients.

"I'm confident that this approach of working in partnership is the right one, as we continue to transform primary care in Wales.

"It provides a strong platform for GPs to continue to provide high quality, sustainable, healthcare."

Media caption,
Dr Charlotte Jones said the extra money was an acknowledgement of the pressures facing the profession

The chairwoman of GP Committee Wales, Dr Charlotte Jones, who led the negotiations on behalf of the BMA doctors' union, said she was certain the approach would "deliver the best outcomes for GPs and patients alike".

"The contract changes announced today will be part of a longer piece of work to review the entire contract and make it fit for the future," she said.

She also welcomed the ongoing investment into developing clusters alongside other health services, the recently announced £40m for premises development, and the £95m for training healthcare professionals to support primary care.

"These funds go hand in hand with today's announcement, with the ultimate aim of strengthening primary care," Dr Jones added.

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