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Number of GP practices 'at risk' rises

The number of GP practices 'at risk' in Wales has increased, according to data gathered by BMA Cymru Wales.

Twenty-nine practices are classed 'at risk' after submitting sustainability applications to their respective health boards for funding help – and a further 29 also claim to be at risk but have yet to submit their applications.

The research by BMA Cymru Wales also shows that, within the last two years, 18 practices have handed back their contracts to health boards and that five practices have closed.

BMA Welsh GPs committee chair Charlotte Jones said: 'The number of practices "at risk" in Wales changes on a regular basis, but it is clear to see the number has increased. This is of grave concern and reflects the pressures facing practices, which vary considerably across Wales.

'GPC Wales encourages struggling practices to seek help early on by contacting their local medical committees for support and professional advice, as well as completing the sustainability assessment framework to allow practices to take a comprehensive view of their current position.

'Any practice struggling should apply to their health board for support. This may be financial, administrative or managerial, and LMCs are represented at the sustainability panel meetings.

'The amount of help offered by health boards to struggling practices differs across Wales, with some receiving excellent support, enabling their situation to be turned around.

'Sadly, other practices report a very different response. We continue to work to actively to address both the problems facing practices, as well as pushing to ensure practices receive the support they need from health boards.

'GPC Wales has produced guidance to highlight areas of business and pastoral support to practices, including links to LMCs, GPC Wales and a doctors’ adviser service.'

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