Health Minister, Vaughan Gething has announced the extension of a successful scheme to help attract GPs to Mid and West Wales.
Launched in 2016, the Academic Fellows scheme offers successful applicant GPs funding to carry teaching, research, and postgraduate study whilst working in Mid and West Wales.
So far, two fellows have completed the Mid and West Wales scheme at Swansea University and taken up partnership with GP practices in the local area. A further two fellows are due to finish this year.
The Minister has now allocated £755,000 to extend the scheme for two more years until 2022/23.
Mr Gething said:
The Welsh Government is committed to ensuring we bring more GPs to traditionally hard to recruit areas of Wales, particularly in rural West Wales. For two years running we have over-filled our target number of GP training places.
The Academic Fellows scheme helps recruit GPs to take up partnerships with GP practices in Mid and West Wales. This helps make these practices more sustainable, supporting our efforts to recruit more trainee GPs, who are starting out on their careers. I am very pleased to be able to extend this scheme for another two years.
Dr Chris Horn, who has completed the scheme, said:
As an Academic Fellow, I worked at two practices in the Hywel Dda area from January 2017 to January 2019. My working week (three days at Swansea University and two days at the practice) allowed me to keep well-practiced and up to date with my medicine whist still exploring the worlds of teaching and research.
Without the opportunity to ‘taste’ these working areas, I may not have considered broadening my horizons in this way, or had the opportunity. I believe that the portfolio career which I have developed will benefit me, and my patients, both now and for a long time to come.
Both practices were very welcoming and I accepted the offer of a partnership at first of these, Meddygfa Tywi, Nantgaredig, before the end of my year with them. It is where I remain to this day and I hope, until the end of my career.
Without this scheme it is unlikely I would ever have stumbled across this delightful rural area of West Wales. An area which I am proud to now call home with my wife and two children.
Practice Manager, Kim Davies, said:
Having Chris join us as a partner has been a major boost to the long term sustainability of this practice. It can be difficult to recruit and attract new GPs to this part of Wales. But the Academic Fellows scheme gives people like Chris the chance to live and work here, and experience all this wonderful part of the world has to offer. I hope more practices in Mid and West Wales get to benefit from this scheme as we have.