Tackle inequality, invest in technology and wellbeing call from Welsh GPs

The Royal College of GPs Cymru Wales has set out three major priorities as they call on Senedd election candidates to support general practice as Wales gradually emerges from the pandemic.

Drawing together a series of highlights included in their more detailed manifesto, the College is specifically asking for priority to be given to:

A renewed focus on tackling health inequalities

  • Existing inequalities in health outcomes have been starkly exposed during the pandemic.
  • While emphasis has focused on improving preventative measures to improve public health, there is still much to do to ensure the services and opportunities are available to all equitably.
  • RCGP Cymru Wales is seeking to build support for a 'Deep End Wales' project similar to that rolled out in Scotland to tackle the root causes of poor health outcomes among disadvantaged patients.

The wellbeing of GPs and their practice teams

  • A third of GPs report feeling so stressed they cannot cope at least once or twice a week.
  • There must be protected time for professional and practice development to further develop skills and innovation for the benefit of patients.
  • There should be an Occupational Health service readily available, with supportive counselling for GPs and their teams.

Technology in general practice

  • To empower patients in their own decision-making, we must streamline the process of securely transferring patient data within and between primary and secondary care.
  • E-prescribing would provide a better service to patients, increase safety and reduce the potential for prescriptions to go astray.
  • Urgent investment is required in general practice technology to bring it up to the highest possible standard and ensure the infrastructure is in place.
  • The rapid switch to telephone and video consultations also makes IT infrastructure a key issue for our patients. There is a risk that patients without sufficient access to IT or digital literacy skills could be disadvantaged.

RCGP Cymru Wales Joint-Chair Dr Mair Hopkin said: "A sustainable general practice must prioritise the wellbeing of GPs and their teams. They have given so much in the battle against COVID-19 and are proud to be at the forefront of the vaccination programme, but we need the structures and support in place to build an ever better general practice experience for our patients."

RCGP Cymru Wales Joint-Chair Professor Peter Saul said: "The NHS is always a priority issue come election time, but on this occasion, we have a very specific context with rapid change in primary care and the ongoing pandemic. What is decided over the next Senedd term will define not just general practice but the experience of our patients for years to come."

Read the full manifesto calls from RCGP Cymru Wales

Further information

(For media only)

RCGP Press office – 020 3188 7633/7494/7574
Out of hours: 020 3188 7659 

Notes to editor

The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 52,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.