BMA Cymru Wales responds to new access standards for GP practices

Responding to the Welsh Government’s announcement Dr Charlotte Jones, chair of the BMA’s Welsh GPs committee said:

“GPs in Wales work extremely hard – often to the detriment of their own health - to ensure that patients are seen in a timely manner and this is reflected in the still very high satisfaction ratings. 

“Whilst we accept, welcome and strive for better access for patients recognising the challenges patients face, the way to address this is to support GP practices to release capacity for patients who need their care. This can be achieved through improving recruitment of GPs, practice nurses and ensuring the wider multi-disciplinary primary and community care workforce are in place. It can be achieved through ensuring patients are empowered to self-care when appropriate. It can be achieved through resourcing supporting infrastructure for practices to take forward different ways of providing access; through properly supporting practices and enhancing the partnership model so that we have sustainable services available to patients. Imposing standards on an already overstretched workforce is not the best way to achieve the shared aim of improving access. 

“We will continue to work with the Welsh Government to ensure that patients are seen in a way that is most suitable and appropriate for their need. This work needs to also include robust support for practices so that they have the resources they need to address the challenges they face on a day to day basis, where they are fire-fighting to meet ever increasing demand and thus enable them to have capacity to develop their access arrangements for patients.”