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Welsh Government urged to act to prevent GP shortage

The Welsh Government has been urged to take action to recruit and keep GPs in Wales.

Credit: ITV Wales News

The Assembly's Health and Social Care Committee has expressed concerns that there'll be a shortage of GPs in the future.

The say a potential shortage could be solved by incentives to get GPs to stay working in areas of high deprivation and rural towns.

The Committee has also recommended encouraging GPs approaching retirement to continue working.

GPs' workloads are increasing, and they now have to lead a wider team of other specialists to deliver appropriate care.

The Committee found that the Welsh Government needs to reconsider the number of training places for GPs, ways to increase the attractiveness of general practice as a career, and options for retaining GPs, including those approaching retirement, within the Welsh NHS workforce.

We hope the Committee's findings will help inform the Welsh Government's forthcoming primary care workforce plan.

– David Rees, AM Chair of the Committee

The Welsh Government welcomed the report and said it will respond in due course.

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A&E waiting times improved but targets still missed

Figures show waiting times for Accident and Emergency Departments have improved, but the target's been missed for another month.

Over 73,000 people attended A&E departments across Wales in January, however only 82.3% were seen within four hours.

The current target is for 95% to be seen in this time.

Last month was A&E's busiest time for five years. Credit: ITV Wales News

A Welsh government spokesperson said A&E departments are under an increasing amount of pressure, made by worse by the winter months.

Despite these increases in demand, the latest statistics for January show that eight out of 10 patients spent less than four hours in A&E units from arrival until admission, transfer or discharge.

However, the number of patients waiting over 12 hours is unacceptable. We expect health boards to work with local authorities and other partners to ensure that patients can be treated, admitted and discharged appropriately and receive safe and effective care.

– Welsh Government spokesperson

Surgery suspended at Wales' biggest hospital

Cardiff and Vale University Health Board is investigating an issue with part of the ventilation system in surgical theatres at University Hospital of Wales.

Surgery has been suspended as a precaution Credit: ITV Wales

It says during routine preparations staff noticed a small number of black specks in the theatre area. As a precaution surgery was suspended in that theatre and a full investigation launched.

Four other theatres have also been affected leading to some operations having to be rescheduled. Patients affected by the issue have been informed.

The health board says there was no evidence of any risk to patients.

Surgery is continuing in other theatres not affected by the issue.

We would like to apologise to anyone who has had their surgery rescheduled. We hope to have it resolved shortly and will ensure that all those affected are seen as soon as possible.

– Ruth Walker, the Director of Nursing

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10,000 sign petition against North Wales maternity plans

More than 10,000 people have signed a petition demanding the Welsh Government intervenes in plans to move specialist maternity services away from Ysbyty Glan Clwyd in Denbighshire.

Plans to move specialist maternity services away from Ysbyty Glan Clwyd have proven controversial.

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board said this week that the move is temporary and necessary because it cannot guarantee patient safety and the service faces collapse. It said it is too reliant on temporary staff.

Read More: Maternity care downgraded at North Wales hospital But the news has angered many in North Wales, with some believing it puts lives at risk.

Health Minister: No agreement yet on NHS commission

The Health Minister Mark Drakeford has taken to Twitter to clarify that there has been "no agreement yet" on the establishment of a cross-party commission on the future of the NHS in Wales.

Earlier, the Welsh Liberal Democrats announced: "Following discussions between Welsh Lib Dem Leader Kirsty Williams and the Welsh Health Minister, an agreement has been reached to set up a Commission with an independent chair, representatives from all four Welsh parties, medical staff and patients."

Mark Drakeford has now said that, instead, there have just been "a number of proposals to move things forward."

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