Practices in Wales will not be expected to meet “unrealistic” targets for patient access over the coming year, it has been announced.
One proposed target would have required practices to answer nearly all patient calls within two minutes of the end of any introductory recorded message. A guarantee on the revaluation of premises has also been extended for a year, according to the British Medical Association. The BMA said present arrangements would be carried forward for another year while the pandemic continues.
Dr Phil White, who chairs the BMA’s Welsh GP committee, said: “Given the unprecedented pressures on general practice and the wider NHS – including delivering the largest vaccination campaign in history – now is not the time to introduce major contractual changes. What’s needed is stability, reassurance and support, allowing GPs and their teams to continue to support their local communities.
“We are therefore glad to have secured agreement with the Welsh Government to hold off on any significant changes or requirements from April, while continuing to support practices and their patients through the most challenging period of the pandemic so far. We will continue discussions with the Welsh Government in the months to come, ensuring any changes later in the year deliver the best for general practice and their patients – as we try to rebuild and restore services after the pandemic.”