NEIL Hamilton, AM for Mid and West Wales and Leader of UKIP Wales, has welcomed news of plans for more GP training places in Wales.

Mr Hamilton welcomed Health Minister, Vaughan Gething’s intention to increase the figure by almost 18%.

He said:

“I am delighted to hear about the significant increase in numbers taking up the GP training places as this area has been woefully neglected over the years.

“Everybody knows that here is Wales, we have a shortage of GPs and anything which can be done to persuade more people to take up this profession should be encouraged.

“I understand that there are already 155 places filled for this year with the target being 136. Clearly there is a growing demand and I welcome the increase to 160 in the Autumn.

I am also encouraged to see the figure will be reviewed with a view to even more places being available in the coming years.

“As the NHS in Wales, continues to struggle it is more important than ever we ensure resources are there to help and encourage training in this area.”

The minister has asked Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW) to review the number of places in Wales to ensure a skilled workforce is in place to meet the aims of A Healthier Wales to provide care closer to home and reduce pressure on hospitals.

Mr Gething said:  “We have made excellent progress since launching our Train, Work, Live campaign in 2016 to attract GP trainees to Wales. In two of the last three years we have over-filled our target number of training places so now is good time to look at increasing the target.”

The Train, Work, Live GP trainee campaign includes two financial incentives schemes: a targeted scheme offering a £20,000 incentive to GP trainees taking up posts in specified areas with a trend of low fill rates, and a universal scheme offering a one off payment for all GP trainees to cover the cost of one sitting of their final examinations.

HEIW Medical Director Professor Push Mangat, said: We are absolutely delighted the Welsh Government have agreed to fund our plan to increase GP training numbers in Wales. This will have a positive impact on local healthcare services and the health and wellbeing of residents.

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