Vaughan Gething, Minister for Health and Social Services
I am pleased to announce a further positive increase in the recruitment of GP trainees in Wales following the conclusion of the three rounds of recruitment in 2020. This year we have recruited a record 200 GP trainees, surpassing both the historical 136 baseline but also the new increased allocation agreed last year of 160 training places. This builds on the 186 GP trainees recruited last year and the ongoing positive contribution to the delivery of sustainable primary care services
This further highlights the success of the national and international marketing campaign, Train Work Live, in supporting Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW) to attract additional GP trainees to Wales.
The campaign continues to be supported by two incentive schemes for GP training; a targeted incentive of £20,000 operating in areas of mid, north and west Wales, and a universal incentive to cover examination fees. Both incentives schemes have been extended for a further year, covering all three recruitment rounds in 2021.
GP training in Wales is further enhanced by a new model of GP specialty training, introduced by HEIW, whereby trainees now spend 12 months in hospital based posts and 24 months in general practice, a shift from 18 months in hospitals posts and 18 months in general practice. The revised model of GP training was initially rolled out to GP Training Schemes in Bangor, Dyffryn Clwyd, Wrexham, Cardiff and Gwent from August 2019 and has now been rolled out to the other 6 GP Training Schemes across Wales. This model provides the majority of training in the environment most relevant to the trainees’ chosen career.
The Welsh Government also continues to demonstrate its commitment to ensuring it brings more primary care professionals to traditionally hard to recruit areas of Wales, particularly in rural West Wales. I recently reaffirmed this by extending the Mid West Wales Academic Fellows scheme for two more years, until 2022-23.
Furthermore, as part of our broader actions to support general practice and primary care, last year I introduced key tools that interact to inform and support primary care workforce sustainability: ‘GPWales’ a recruitment platform for all general practice workforce needs, the All Wales Locum Register and the Wales National Workforce Reporting System.
Since launch in September 2019 GPWales has advertised 525 roles in general practices across all parts of Wales with over 46,000 unique users visiting the site from across the UK and beyond.
The All Wales Locum Register has been an overwhelming success, which has now been further enhanced by the development of Locum Hub Wales and as at 23 October 2020, there were 1,330 GP locums (including registrars) now registered, supporting locums and general practices to find suitable, effective and streamlined solutions for their locum needs.
The Wales National Workforce Reporting System now provides an accurate, interactive workforce intelligence tool supporting GP practices and health boards to better understand the primary care workforce demographic in Wales and so undertake more effective workforce planning.
The current pandemic has shown how vital our fantastic health and social care workforce are and the dedication with which they have responded to, and continue to respond, to Covid-19.