Joyce and Eluned back extension to Mid and West Wales new GP scheme

Local Labour Senedd Members Joyce Watson and Eluned Morgan are backing a £755K investment to bring more GPs to Mid and West Wales.

The Welsh Government has allocated £755,000 to extend the successful scheme for two more years until 2022/23.

Since 2016 the Academic Fellows scheme has offered successful applicant GPs funding to carry out teaching, research, and postgraduate study whilst working across the region.
The Academic Fellows are based in Swansea University Medical School for three days a week and for the other two days they work in rural GP practices in Hywel Dda University Health Board, Powys Teaching Health Board or Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board, providing support to a general practice to improve patient care and practice systems.

Joyce Watson said: “Welsh Labour is committed to bringing more GPs to the region, where it has traditionally been hard to recruit. For two years running we have over-filled our target number of GP training places.”

Eluned Morgan added: “The Academic Fellows scheme helps recruit GPs to take up partnerships with GP practices across Mid and West Wales. This helps make these practices more sustainable, supporting our efforts to recruit more trainee GPs as they start out on their careers. I am very pleased this scheme will be extended for another two years.”

Two fellows have completed the scheme at Swansea University and taken up partnership with GP practices in the local area. A further two fellows are due to finish this year.

Dr Chris Horn, who has completed the scheme, said: “As an Academic Fellow, I worked at two practices in the Hywel Dda area from January 2017 to January 2019. My working week (three days at Swansea University and two days at the practice) allowed me to keep well-practiced and up to date with my medicine whist still exploring the worlds of teaching and research.

“Without the opportunity to ‘taste’ these working areas, I may not have considered broadening my horizons in this way or had the opportunity. I believe that the portfolio career which I have developed will benefit me, and my patients, both now and for a long time to come.

“Both practices were very welcoming, and I accepted the offer of a partnership at first of these, Meddygfa Tywi, Nantgaredig, before the end of my year with them. It is where I remain to this day and I hope, until the end of my career.

“Without this scheme it is unlikely I would ever have stumbled across this delightful rural area of West Wales, which I am proud to now call home with my wife and two children.”

Practice Manager, Kim Davies, said: “Having Chris join us as a partner has been a major boost to the long-term sustainability of this practice. It can be difficult to recruit and attract new GPs to this part of Wales. But the Academic Fellows scheme gives people like Chris the chance to live and work here, and experience all this wonderful part of the world has to offer. I hope more practices in Mid and West Wales get to benefit from this scheme as we have.”