Doctors need better support from the Cardiff Labour Government to ensure there are more GPs available in north Wales.
That’s the view of Plaid Cymru’s North Wales AM Llyr Gruffydd, who called on the First Minister to provide more support for GPs in his region.
Mr Gruffydd, who was speaking in the Assembly chamber during First Minister Questions, said: “Indemnity cover is a key issue for many GPs and an increasing deterrent to those who may want to practice part-time due to the growing cost. Some GPs face having to pay indemnity insurance of more than £10,000 a year, which makes part-time work difficult. At a time when we need to be doing everything we can to retain existing GPs and attracting back those doctors who have retired early or taken a career break, I’m being told that this is an important part in their decision not to return to practice.
“The British Medical Association and individual doctors have sent a clear message to Assembly Members in the North and, I have no doubt, to the Labour Government in Cardiff. What do you intend to do to overcome the growing problem of GP shortages in north Wales, where many local practices are under acute pressure?”
The First Minister acknowledged it was an important point and said he would write to Mr Gruffydd to respond to the matter.
Speaking afterwards, Mr Gruffydd said: “I’m disappointed that something the BMA has been flagging up for quite some time hadn’t registered with the First Minister. Half of all government spending in Wales goes on the health service and yet it’s failing to take simple concrete steps to ensure we safeguard and protect the key frontline service – our family doctors. The Labour Government has been in direct charge of Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board for the past two-and-a-half years so there’s no ducking or hiding from the reality facing our NHS. The shortage of doctors needs addressing and the indemnity issue is clearly having an impact. We need answers from the Government and today I didn’t get that answer.”