CONCERNS have been raised as almost 100 GP surgeries have closed their doors in Wales since 2012. 

The concerns come following BMA Wales' warning that without urgent investment in general practice, the country will soon see its 100th practice closure in just over a decade.

Government figures published last month revealed that as of December 31, 2023, there were 374 GP practices in Wales, a decrease of nine (2.4%) since December 2022.

The Welsh GP workforce has also shrunk slightly over the same period - falling by 0.3% to 1,588 fully-qualified, full-time equivalent (FTE) GPs.

Sam Rowlands, Member of the Welsh Parliament for North Wales, has vowed to keep fighting to save GP surgeries in Wales.

Mr Rowlands, Shadow Minister for Health was speaking during a Welsh Conservative debate: GP practices and funding.

He said: “There are 99 fewer GP practices in Wales today than there were in 2012, and it seems to me that the Welsh Government is doing precious little to stop that number moving to 100.

“This is a downward trend that's followed declining levels of funding from the Labour Welsh Government. Currently, less than 8% of NHS Wales funding goes towards general practice, which is below 2005 and 2006 levels.

"This is at a time when Welsh Government are refusing to spend the full amount of money from the UK Government on our NHS, and we really are seeing the ill effects of that.

“That reduction of GP surgeries hits our communities hard. We've gone from a system of traditional family doctors who know people, their relatives and ailments, to a scenario where we have GP deserts, with poor provision putting even more strain on the GP surgeries that do remain.

“It's clear that many of our residents across Wales are deeply dissatisfied with the way the Welsh Government are running the NHS and our GP practices here in Wales."


Plaid Cymru’s North Wales Senedd Member Llyr Gruffydd said there was widespread disquiet across north Wales, as access to GP practices was a growing problem and that there were more health board-managed practices in the Betsi Cadwaladr region than in the rest of Wales put together.

He added: “The problem is one for all parts of Wales but is particularly acute here in the North, where we have 13 managed practices and huge problems with GP practices in terms of recruitment and retention. In recent months I’ve met with GPs in the Deeside, Wrexham and Conwy areas and it’s clear that the Labour government has no vision to ensure that this essential part of the NHS is safeguarded and strengthened. We need bold action.”

A Welsh Government spokesperson said: "As is the trend across the UK, there is a shift towards larger GP practices, with a wider mix of professionals in one setting, providing a greater range of services.

“There has been a large increase in the number of wider practice staff in recent years, with a broadly stable number of GPs. The current target of 160 new GP trainees each year is consistently being exceeded – 170 new GP trainees were recruited in 2023.

“We greatly value the work GPs and all practice staff, do every day. We are working to reduce pressure on GPs, through the introduction NHS 111 Wales and increasing the services community pharmacists provide. GP contract reforms have helped reduce bureaucracy and free up more time for GPs to see patients.

“We will continue to work with BMA Cymru Wales to address issues facing general practice.”