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Welsh MP report reflects prime minister’s “obsession with access”, says BMA

16 January 2008

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Gordon Brown’s “obsession with access is percolating through into Wales”, the chairman of the Welsh GPs’ Committee (GPC) has said, in response to the Welsh National Assembly Audit Committee report on the GMS contract.

Dr David Bailey (pictured) said the Welsh GPC was “deeply concerned” by the report’s suggestion that the 2004 contract does not represent good value for money.

He said: “The report fails categorically to recognise that one of the main reasons why the new contract costs increased was because the government failed to listen to the British Medical Association (BMA), who warned the government they had underestimated the amount of work that GPs undertake and the quality of preventive medical care they provide.

“Costs also increased because of a widespread recognition that GPs had fallen behind other professions, and that recruitment was down as a consequence of this and of spiralling workload.”

Dr Bailey added: “It seems that Gordon Brown’s obsession with access is percolating through into Wales, which is a real shame.

“If you take the Welsh Assembly Government’s own patient access survey findings, overall, 81% of Welsh patients say they are able to access their GPs service within the Welsh Assembly Government’s own 24-hour target.

“This compares well with England where the target is 48 hours, despite the fact that according to the government’s own figures chronic disease incidence is 15% higher in Wales.”

Referring to the Quality and Outcome Framework (QOF), Dr Bailey said: “Increases in GPs incomes reflect the fact that GPs and practices are working harder than ever and are receiving remuneration in line with their workload.”

BMA Wales

Your comments: (Terms and conditions apply)

“It should be continually revisited as the world moves on, but let’s have some realistic goals relating to patients’ clinical needs rather than political big ideas that do nothing but cause frustration and poor service for patients” – Name and address supplied

“Has the government not realised that to provide the OOH services for the 19% of patients in Wales, all GPs will be doing is redistributing the service now provided. At present, we are open Mon–Fri from 8.00am–6.30pm, with surgeries and clinics running through the day. We provide 24-hour access to our patients, with emergencies being seen at the end of any given surgery. This means we are seeing patients up to 7.00pm most evenings. Our only alternative would be to go back to a half-day closure during the week to give us the manpower for the one-hour per thousand patients of OOH that this Gordon Brown wants us to provide, and would not mean an extra service for patients that Mr Brown is telling the people” – Name and address supplied