Step change needed in how the NHS spends its money, says RCGP Wales

As the Welsh Government gives more details of the 2019-20 outline draft budget, RCGP Wales is calling for a “step change” in the way the NHS spends its money.

After the outline draft budget, the coming weeks will see budget proposals for each portfolio.

Dr Peter Saul, RCGP Wales Joint Chair, said: “Wales needs to think about the way it cares for its people in the long-term. More of the same won’t achieve the best outcomes. We have an ageing population, and more people with multiple, chronic, long-term conditions. To manage that effectively, patients need to be able to access more care in their communities, not being in a situation where issues escalate and require more serious hospital intervention.

“It isn’t a controversial statement. The Welsh NHS has published plan after plan aiming to deliver more care closer to people’s homes. However, these plans haven’t yet been backed up with the resources needed to implement them.

“In fact, the share of the NHS budget invested in general practice has actually fallen over the last decade. More and more GPs are saying it’s financially unsustainable to run a practice, with inadequate funding available to them to deliver patient care.

“There will be opportunities to address this and they need to be taken. The funding announced ahead of the NHS’ 70th birthday means Wales will receive additional money, and general practice needs its fair share. The last NHS plan came with a £100million fund to help implement it, and ultimately core budgets need to reflect the way Wales needs to deliver patient care.

“A well-resourced general practice would mean patients can access more timely appointments and the NHS delivers more preventative care, fixing problems at an early stage before they get worse. Those benefits will not be realised until we see a step change in NHS funding.”