Health Secretary Vaughan Gething has today taken action to relieve pressure on GPs during the busier than usual winter period.
Vaughan Gething, in partnership with BMA Wales, has taken the decision that the Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) element of the GP contract will be relaxed until 31 March 2017.
This move will create more capacity for GPs and practice nurses to manage their most vulnerable and chronically sick patients during the winter period where there is a significant increase in demand for their services.
The Health Secretary said:
“The positive action we’ve taken today will help ease pressure on primary care. I’d like to thank GP and practice nurses across Wales for their hard work and commitment to their patients during this busy winter period.
“Instead of patients being called in for routine appointments automatically at the busiest time of the year, doctor and practice nurse’s time will be freed up to see patients, prioritising those urgently requesting appointments because they are ill.
“Both BMA Wales and Welsh Government remain committed to working positively and collaboratively to improve access to services. No GP practice will lose out financially as a result of QOF relaxation.
“I hope that both primary care and patients in Wales will feel the benefits of this decision. It’s a common sense approach that shows the agility of NHS Wales – especially when it’s under pressure.”
Chair of GPC Wales, Dr Charlotte Jones said:
“This welcome move will have a positive effect on practices by reducing bureaucracy and box ticking, as well as releasing capacity which will enable GPs and practice nurses to focus on the complex care needs of their patients at a particularly busy time.
“We are committed to working in partnership with Welsh Government to continue improving working conditions for GPs in Wales, and this agreement demonstrates what can be achieved through collaboration on an agreed vision.”