Penarth Times Column- Investing in Healthcare ( 13 April)

IN MY role as cabinet secretary for health, wellbeing and sport I was pleased to recently announce a significant increase in the number of trainee GPs in Wales.

The Welsh Labour Government made a commitment in our Programme for Government to continue to invest in primary care and to take action and train more GPs, nurses and other healthcare professionals to Wales.

In October we launched a major new campaign to promote Wales as an excellent place for doctors, including GPs, and their families, to train, work and live.

Figures recently released by the Wales Deanery show a 16 per cent increase in the number of GP training places filled, so far, compared to last year.

The number of GP training places filled at the end of the first round of recruitment currently stands at 84 per cent – compared to 68 per cent at this stage last year.

The results speak for themselves, the campaign has been a success and this is something to celebrate.

The incentive scheme will see trainees receive a total of £20,000 on the understanding they remain in the area in which they took a training placement whilst they train and for one year of practice afterwards.

The new financial incentive scheme in targeted areas of Wales has made a positive start.

Of those areas of Wales that were a part of the new financial incentive scheme, first round recruitment has already resulted in 100 per cent fill rates in the Pembrokeshire, North Wales East and North Wales West GP training schemes.

Following re-advert the Welsh Government is confident fill rates for Ceredigion and North Wales Central scheme will also improve.

Phase two of the campaign will target nurses in primary care, secondary care and the care home sector and will launch in May.

Future phases of the campaign will launch in May. Future phases of the campaign will target pharmacists and allied health professionals.