HC Deb 20 March 1998 vol 308 c764W
Mr. Llwyd

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what initiatives his Department is taking to increase the recruitment and retention of medical staff in the rural areas of Wales. [34356]

Mr. Win Griffiths

General practitioners working in rural areas are able to obtain assistance under their remuneration system by claiming Rural Practice payments, an Associate allowance and an Inducement allowance if eligible.

In July 1997 I announced the setting up of an Equity Fund of £0.5 million to help address local recruitment and retention problems. Additionally, the Government identified in the Primary Care Act 1997 a range of flexibilities for addressing local service needs and recruitment difficulties.

In 1998–99, health authorities in Wales will receive an additional £3.9 million increase to their cash limited budget for GP practice staff and premises. This is a 7.8 per cent. cash increase on last year or a 5.0 per cent. increase in real terms growth. The budget includes provision, at health authority discretion, to reimburse GPs a proportion of practice staff costs which may include the employment of salaried doctors and practice nurses.

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