Increasing number of North Wales GP surgeries taken over by troubled health board

Clwyd West AM Darren Millar has expressed concern at the 24% increase in the number of North Wales patients being treated by health board managed GP practices in the last six months.

Latest statistics for Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB) show that while in April the figure stood at 86,067 patients, this has increased to 106,747 patients in October.

With BCUHB having been in special measures for over four years and with evidence showing that managed practices do not provide value for money, Darren said the sharp rise in the number of patients in North Wales being managed by health board managed practices in “extremely worrying”.  

He said:

“These figures are hugely concerning. Wales in general is losing GPs left right and centre and I am deeply concerned that North Wales is seeing more and more terminating their NHS contracts. The news about 

“The British Medical Association have been warning since 2014 that General Practice in North Wales is in crisis, yet the Welsh Government has not taken enough action to address this and in the meantime it is the patients who are suffering.

 “Convenient access to healthcare from GPs and other primary care professionals is key to the future of the Welsh NHS and is vital that the Welsh Government recognises this and takes immediate action to address the crisis we are facing here in North Wales.”

At the BMA Welsh GP’s Committee briefing in the Senedd this week, discussion focused on whether primary care is at the forefront of health boards’ mind, with the conclusion being that it is not and that Welsh Government should have more say over what health boards do.

There was also discussion about managed GP practices, with GPC Wales representatives stating that in their experience, managed practices have a far higher secondary care referral rate than independent contractors as they often lack continuity of care.