An urgent training and recruitment drive is needed to overcome an extreme GP crisis in the wake of new figures, says Plaid Cymru’s North Wales AM.
They show that North Wales is the worst-hit region for GP practices closuring over the past six years, research has found.
The figures obtained from various health boards show that almost a half of all Wales’s GP practices closing between 2010-15 were in the North – 16 out of 33.
In the past year 2015-16, a further eight out of 20 Welsh practices that closed were in the North – 40% of the total. These include practices in Prestatyn, Rhuddlan, Conwy and Wrexham.
Llyr Gruffydd, Plaid Cymru’s North Wales AM, said: “There’s a general problem with GPs retiring and not being replaced, putting greater pressure on the colleagues remaining. Plaid Cymru has been highlighting this problem for a number of years. We’ve advocated training and recruiting an extra 1,000 doctors to meet the shortfall in all disciplines but the problem is particularly acute in GP practices and worse still in parts of the North.
“With every retirement, the pressure on those remaining increases. We can’t go on like that and it’s unfair on both the doctors and their patients. It’s high time we had a Welsh Government that was committed to developing better training, retention and recruitment of doctors and other health professionals with a particular understanding of the specific needs here in the North. The present government is failing miserably to make the NHS in Wales work and get it back on track as the world-class service we know it can be. GPs are telling us that this is an extreme crisis and we have a Cardiff Labour Government that is failing to deliver.
“When you’re still going in the wrong direction after all these years, it’s time to change the driver.”