Lack of GP’s in Deeside raised with health board chiefs
Recruitment of GPs remains a ‘significant challenge’, Flintshire councillors have been told by health board chiefs.
Connah’s Quay South Cllr Bill Crease (Ind) raised the issue of a lack of GPs at surgeries in the town at a special meeting of Flintshire Council’s Social and Health Care scrutiny committee with senior leaders at Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board.
The meeting enabled senior health board representatives to answer a number of questions from councillors about provision across the county.
Cllr Crease said: “In Connah’s Quay we have one of the major surgery facilities with no doctors and this has been an ongoing problem, not for months, but for years.
“Is there any hope on the horizon that we can look to improve GP staffing in surgeries where they are missing?”
The health board’s interim chief executive Gill Harris said work is ongoing to bolster recruitment but that there is not a short term fix available.
She said: “We are working really hard to get additional GPs into the area and into those facilities where we struggle and we’re not alone in having a shortfall in GPs.
“What I can say is that Jim McGuigan, the local GP to yourselves (Flintshire) is leading a primary care strategy to see what alternatives we have to support these shortfalls.
“I am not going to lie this remains a significant challenge. The work we are doing is to encourage people to come and work in North Wales, and alongside that we’re working closely with Bangor University on the development of a medical school which will enable us to train very locally.
“I don’t have any short-term answers but what I can say is it is an area of extreme focus for us and one we’re constantly trying to address.”
Chairing the meeting, Argoed and New Brighton Cllr Hilary McGuigan (Lib Dem) asked about the potential for “upskilling” nurses to prescribe.
Ms Harris welcomed the question, adding: “It’s not just how we ‘upskill’ nurses but how we use our prescribing pharmacies to ensure that the people who require those primary care skills are receiving them from the right person, so that our GPs are left with what only a GP can deal with.”
Northop Cllr Marion Bateman (Ind) also asked about a shortage of support staff at GP surgeries in Flintshire, and asked whether there were plans to look at reintroducing convalescence homes for patients to use making the transition between hospital and home.
Ms Harris said: “That is what we would wish our community hospitals to be. They should be rehabilitation and ‘short stay’.
“The area I feel has been really good practice has been the Marleyfield development (care home in Buckley) with yourselves, looking at a social and care model and that is definitely something we want to explore further.”
By Rory Sheehan – Local Democracy Reporter (more here).
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