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Wales exceeds GP training places target
The Wales Deanery has now confirmed the appointment of 144 GP training places, surpassing the 136 places available.
It follows the launch of an international and UK-wide campaign to promote Wales an an excellent place for doctors and GPs to train, work and live.
The 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 sage offering a one-off payment for all GP trainees to cover the cost of one sitting of their final examinations.
The campaign has meant that areas that have traditionally found it difficult to recruit, such as Ceredigion, North East Wales, North West Wales and Pembrokeshire, have benefitted, achieving 100 per cent fill rates this year.
Vaughan Gething, Welsh Health Secretary, said: “I am delighted we’ve filled all the GP training places for Wales this year, and in particular some of the traditionally hard to recruit rural areas. It shows our marketing campaign has been a great success and Wales really is a great place to train, work and live.
“There are a number of benefits for doctors coming to Wales, including an Education Contract for junior doctors, the first in the UK. It guarantees ring-fenced time for learning within the working week to ensure trainee doctors will have access to a wide range of educational opportunities to support their career development.
“The campaign was recently extended to encourage trainee psychiatrists to come to Wales, which is a particular recruitment challenge across the whole of the UK.
“I was pleased to re-launch the medical campaign in October. I have also approved the continuation of the incentives we have put in place for GP trainees. I expect the campaign to go from strength to strength and attract even more doctors to Wales.”
Rebecca Payne, RCGP chair, said: "I am delighted at the Health Secretary's news that all GP training places have been filled and that additional capacity has been created for those doctors choosing to train, work and live in Wales. This is an important milestone and a step on the journey towards training the 200 GPs per year that we need for Wales.
"Last year, RCGP Wales launched 'Transform,' our roadmap for transformation which outlined the steps that need to be taken to strengthen general practice. As part of this, we called on the government to run a major recruitment campaign to help address the GP shortage.
"Train Work Live has been a positive campaign and I am glad that we are seeing it pay off.
"We need to expand the GP workforce by 485 GPs by 2021 and the increase in GP trainees is real progress towards this. I now encourage the Welsh government to go one step further and boost the numbers of GP training places to 200 a year and do more to encourage existing GPs to stay in the profession for longer.
"General practice is a fantastic and highly rewarding career. GPs are passionate advocates for patient care and we are privileged to care for patients from the cradle to the grave. GP colleagues across Wales are active promoting general practice to school students and trainee doctors."