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Thursday, 11 June 2009

Welsh GP leader's LMC speech - a new NHS Wales fit for patients, not managers

This year’s UK Conference of Local Medical Committees is currently underway at BMA House.

Dr David Bailey, Chair of GPC Wales has just delivered his speech to delegates, detailing the forthcoming priorities for the newly reformed NHS Wales.

Here are some of the key points from the speech...

Dr Bailey's outlined how a reorganised NHS Wales needs to be "fit for the people who use it, not the people who manage it" and how ten years of devolution have left all four UK nations with very different healthcare systems.

"In Wales we have avoided the commercialisation of health for shareholder profit and we still have an NHS free at the point of sale. And that is to the credit of Wales and the Welsh government.

"However we still have a GP workforce where incomes are lower and falling faster than England, where recruitment of trainees is falling – two things possibly not unrelated - and where treating the highest levels of disease prevalence in the UK is still under resourced. These are all things GPC Wales has to, and will, address as NHS Wales is reorganised."

And it is this reorganisation that Dr Bailey reckons poses the biggest challenge for Welsh GPs in the coming year.

"Eight organisations combining the old trusts and Local Health Boards and eradicating the purchaser provider split – at least in secondary care – will be tasked with delivering healthcare for the people of Wales. These are the organisations that GPs, who are still independent contractors, will have to engage with.

"There will be opportunities. The aim is to move care and resources into primary care to deliver better and more responsive services to our patients closer to their homes, avoiding the hazards of hospitals, and providing a personal service with continuity of care. That’s what Welsh GPs want to do and that’s what our patients, I believe, want of us. They want us to coordinate health and social care in their own homes, they want continuity and to be able to trust a doctor they know. They want good preventive care and to be involved in managing their chronic health problems.

"But, just like everywhere else in the UK, the primary care sponge is full. Give us the resources and – using the mechanisms in the GMS contract - we can deliver, but resources there must be."

View the full conference agenda

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