Thank you for writing to me concerning the recent GP contract negotiations.
A quarter of a century of Labour at the helm in Cardiff Bay has left the Welsh NHS suffering from the very tangible impacts of chronic underfunding. I am disappointed to see that this trend has reared its head yet again, with the recent negotiations surrounding GP contracts failing to reach a satisfactory outcome.
The Save Our Surgeries campaign highlighted the severe impacts of long-term underinvestment in general practice and its consequent impact on workload, with the alarming statistic that 80% of GPs in Wales fear they are unable to provide quality and safe care to patients due to their excessive workloads, diminishing workforce, and the rising demands of the service. Moreover, with 84 surgeries closed in the last decade, Wales is having to deal with 18% fewer surgeries at a time when pressures on our Welsh NHS are at critical levels. GPC Wales have made it clear that, without proper investment by the Welsh Government, the future of General Practise in Wales faces the risk of collapse.
Labour’s Health Minister has failed to match the UK Conservative Party pay offer for doctors, which is at least 20% higher for most healthcare staff. This becomes even more disappointing when we recognise that Wales has for a long time received £1.20 for every £1 spent in England, meaning that this underfunding has been a consequence of lack of priority by the Welsh Government and not a lack of funds, as they often try to claim.
The Welsh Conservatives have time and again committed to fully funding our Welsh NHS and would take every necessary step to ensure that General Practice in Wales has sufficient funds for the workforce, premises and services to meet the demand and safeguard patient safety.
My colleagues and I understand the integral role that General Practice plays in our Welsh NHS and that, as the effective frontline of our health services, it must be strengthened at every opportunity to improve patient care and mitigate pressure on our hospital services.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.