I am pleased to announce further positive increases in the fill rates achieved for GP training, secondary care core and speciality training posts across Wales,
In 2019 I confirmed my intention to increase the number of GP training places in Wales from 136 to 160. The Welsh Government has provided additional funding to Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW) on the basis of the revised baseline target of 160, starting from 2020. I also agreed where there are further opportunities to recruit more GP trainees than the 160, HEIW should proceed where there is capacity in the system to do so.
For the fourth consecutive year, the Welsh Government continues to operate two financial incentive schemes for GP training: a targeted scheme offering a £20,000 incentive for trainees taking up posts in specified areas with an historical trend of low fill rates; and a universal scheme offering a one-off payment for all trainees to cover the cost of sitting of their final examinations.
Since 2016 we have worked in partnership with HEIW and other key stakeholders from NHS Wales to promote Wales as a destination of choice for junior doctors through our marketing campaign This is Wales: Train Work Live. The campaign has helped lay the groundwork for the improved recruitment position being announced today.
For GP training in Wales, HEIW has recruited a total of 176 trainees. This represents an increase of 13.5% compared to the same stage of recruitment in 2019, and an increase of 58.5% since 2018. A further recruitment round is due to complete in the autumn.
An overall fill rate of 99.3% has been achieved across the 15 secondary care core and speciality training programmes in Wales (e.g. core surgical training, internal medicine training) with 425 out of 428 available posts already filled. Wales has achieved the highest fill rates out of the four UK nations.
This is a fantastic achievement against a backdrop of the greatest challenge that NHS Wales has ever faced through COVID-19.
It was not possible to issue this statement before recess due to the timing and availability of recruitment data. I will release a further statement early in 2021 when the next round of data is made available.
This statement is being issued during recess in order to keep members informed. Should members wish me to make a further statement or to answer questions on this when the Senedd returns I would be happy to do so.