NHS workforce plan 'will improve access to care'

A new plan to strengthen Wales' primary care workforce will be unveiled today.

Primary care services include GP surgeries, pharmacies, NHS dentists, local opticians and healthcare support workers.

The plan will see the Welsh Government investment in these and other clinical staff and aims to provide more care closer to people's homes. It will also be geared towards recruiting and retaining GPs.

Other actions within the plan include:

  • Increase the number of Welsh Government-funded places on return-to-nursing practice courses.

  • Investment in advanced and extended skills, including non-medical prescribing and advance practice education;

  • Working with health boards and universities to develop an education and training programme for physicians associates in Wales.

  • Expand the GP retainer scheme, which offers flexible working opportunities to encourage professionals thinking of retiring to stay in work part-time.

  • Reimburse medical school fees when a newly-qualified doctor commits to a career in general practice.

  • A national GP recruitment campaign promoting the benefits of a career in Wales.

  • Changing the law to make it easier for GPs registered to work in England to work in Wales for short periods of time without the need to make a full application to join a Welsh health board's performers list.

  • Working with medical schools to increase the proportion of general practice and community placements medical students experience.

Health Minister Mark Drakeford says the goal is to make the most of the skills primary care staff already have and to improve the services they provide: