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Fears over dearth of family doctors in South Wales

6 August 2008

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A lack of young doctors replacing their retiring colleagues has led to fresh fears that South Wales could be hit by a GP shortage.

Out of the 1,900 GPs in Wales, there has been a recent drop in the number of doctors aged under 40 and a rise in those who are over 60, according to the latest NHS figures.

The Assembly Government has now been called on to put in place measures to attract more younger GPs.

But South Wales health managers and the Senedd claim the problem has improved recently and is therefore no longer an issue.

Figures released by the Assembly show the average age of a family doctor in Wales has risen by one year over the past decade from 45 to 46.

But the figures also show that more GPs in Wales are now aged 60-plus, almost doubling over the past 10 years from just 88 in 1999 to 152 today.

Conservative health spokesman for Wales, Jonathan Morgan, said the lack of young doctors would affect local health services.

He said the Assembly Government’s so-called “golden hello” of £5,000 to attract new young doctors to Wales introduced in 2002 had not worked.

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Welsh Assembly