Wales removes ‘treadmill of bureaucracy’ for GPs

Doctors' leaders have welcomed changes being made to GP contracts in Wales which will reduce bureaucracy and improve access for patients to GP surgeries.

Doctors’ leaders have welcomed changes being made to GP contracts in Wales which will reduce bureaucracy, improve access for patients to GP surgeries and reduce pressures faced by Accident and Emergency Units.

The proposals will cut the number of performance targets that GPs need to meet, thereby freeing them up to spend more time with patients. Until now, the money GP surgeries received depended on how they performed against 969 different measures. Under the new contract 300 measures will be cut.

The contracts will also include new financial incentives to encourage surgeries located close to each other to work together as well as measures to provide better care for people with early-stage cancer, for those at the end of their lives or the frail or elderly.

Declaring that the proposals will “remove the treadmill of bureaucracy facing GPs”, Welsh health minister, Mark Drakeford said:

“The changes we have agreed will remove the treadmill of bureaucracy facing GPs, allowing them to spend more time with their most vulnerable patients, particularly the frail elderly.

“By removing some of the current requirements on GPs, we are both freeing up valuable time and putting more trust in the professional judgement of doctors, allowing them to treat their patients as individuals rather than to satisfy a set of criteria.

“We are also, by changing the funding formula for practices, addressing the inequalities in health which exist between the most and least affluent areas of Wales.”

Speaking about the changes, Dr Charlotte Jones, chair of British Media Association’s Welsh GPs Committee, commented:

“GPC Wales has welcomed the collaborative approach by the Welsh government which has enabled the important issues affecting GPs in Wales to start to be addressed.

“We believe that these changes will enable practices to have the ability and capacity to better manage demand and the needs of their patients, as well as reducing bureaucracy.

“We believe these changes will make a significant difference to the challenges that GP practice teams face day to day.

“GPC Wales recognises the potential value of networks to meet the Welsh government’s strategic priorities but these can only be effective if local health boards work closely and proactively with practices and support them in ensuring they are successful in delivering improved patient care. The Minister’s guidance to this effect is welcomed.”

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