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Concern raised over future of GP out of hour services

 
Created on 26/01/2018 @ 14:54
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Assurances are needed for residents in Newtown over the future of out of hours GP services.

Montgomeryshire Assembly Member, Russell George, said he has concerns over what services will be provided when the current Shropdoc service ends this spring.

The AM has raised concerns with the First Minister Carwyn Jones in the Senedd and asked him to provide assurances to the people of Powys that the area will have outstanding ‘out of hours GP services’.

Powys Teaching Health Board have confirmed that they aim to put in place a new service across Powys from Spring this year. They have confirmed that their current contract with Shropdoc care medical services for Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin and most of Powys will end this spring.

Mr George asked the First Minister to personally examine the emerging situation and provide the people of North Powys with a guarantee that if any change to the service took place – it would be an outstanding ‘Out of Hours GP service.’

After questioning the First Minister, Mr George said:“I pointed out to the First Minister that Powys does not have a district general hospital so it is all the more important that the people of Montgomeryshire have an outstanding GP out of hours service.

“I have no doubt in my own mind that neither the health board nor any other organisation can currently provide the same level of support as Shropdoc provides.

“To date, the Health Board has not given any public indication of how a replacement service will be provided.

“ShropDoc also provides crucial services to GP practices, in addition to its’ out of hours service, so there is a significant risk that some GP practices could fold if those services are not available.

“Although the First Minister correctly pointed out that Shropdoc has faced financial challenges, he was not able to offer the reassurance that I asked him to provide. The Welsh Government need to intervene on this issue and give me and the people of Powys clear assurances."

Carwyn Jones said: “Well, the situation has arisen because Shropdoc itself has faced financial challenges during 2017. Those challenges do remain.

“As a result, the health board have been working with Shropdoc and the English clinical commissioning groups to support them while they address those challenges. I understand that the health board did establish a taskforce to assess and deliver potential alternative solutions for the provision of out-of-hours services in Powys.

“That taskforce has developed short- and medium-term plans. The current contract with Shropdoc does end, I understand, in the spring, so there is an opportunity there now to work on new models and to work with Shropdoc itself.

“This is a situation that's not been chosen by the health board, but there have been challenges that have been placed before them as a result of Shropdoc's own financial situation, which we hope can be resolved.”

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