Sunday, 28 February 2016

Crisis? What crisis?! - Labour in denial over GP problems in Wales

Seventeen years of Labour rule in Wales have seen a Government increasingly out of touch with reality. Nowhere is the more evident than in health and in particular in the North, where the NHS desperately needs political leadership, ambition and vision.

Instead we have had a First Minister in denial that there's any kind of crisis. Unfortunately for Carwyn Jones, his comments came on the same day as two leading doctors described the situation as a “ticking time bomb” and on a “knife edge”.

Dr Phil White, Secretary of North Wales Local Medical Committee, said immediate action needed to be taken to ensure patients did not suffer.

He was backed up by Dr Sara Bodey, vice chair of North Wales local medical committees, who said the profession was at breaking point due to staffing pressures.
Last week saw 7,500 patients were left without access to a doctor after Treflan Surgery in Pwllheli was forced to turn away people due to a shortage of doctors.

This is on top of a series of other surgeries facing the same dilemma in Hightown (Wrexham), Rhuddlan, Blaenau Ffestiniog and Prestatyn.

Rebecca Payne, chair of the Royal College of GPs (RCGP) in Wales, said there is a workforce crisis across the entire country due to growing difficulties in recruiting and retaining doctors. She said she was “baffled” by comments made by Jones, who claimed he was not aware of any patients suffering as a result of a lack of GPs in the north. 
The Royal College claims more than 400 full-time equivalent GPs are needed in Wales by 2020 to deal with the “perfect storm” of fewer doctors and an ageing population .

This weekend saw another join the list. The Penymaes practice in Summerhill, Wrexham, announce it will be unable to offer a service after September due to a shortage of doctors. 

Cllr Arfon Jones, who represents the area and is registered at the Penymaes practice, said: 

"This surgery is very busy with 8,000 registered, it is a worrying time for all the patients and I have already been contacted by many expressing their concerns. As chair of the local Community Health Council I will be raising my concerns with the Health Board and hoping that they will deal with this crisis much more effectively than they dealt with a similar crisis at Beechley Road surgery.  "It just shows how out of touch the Labour Government in Cardiff are when the First Minister Carwyn Jones claimed recently that there is no crisis in GP services in North Wales."

Carrie Harper, Plaid Cymru's Assembly candidate for Wrexham, said: 
"This is the latest GP surgery closure announced and it highlights the fact that we need to train and recruit new doctors urgently. A Plaid Cymru government would do just that to make our NHS better here in Wrexham and across Wales. "it further reinforces the failure if the current Labour Government to deal with our current GP crisis, they're in denial."
Plaid Cymru has had a long-standing policy of training and recruiting 1,000 doctors and 5,000 nurses to meet demand and improve our NHS. We recognise, along with the health professionals, there is a crisis and we have an ambitious but credible plan to address that over 10 years. 

The choice is simple - continue with a government in denial or choose one with a plan to make the NHS better.

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