GPs in Wales voice concern over lack of social workers

Social workers in Wales are in such short supply that family
doctors are complaining they are having to carry the additional

At a conference of local medical committees in Wales, delegates
were told that GPs in some areas were no longer receiving adequate
social work support for cases such as teenage pregnancies and lone

The conference was told that such support was not considered a
priority because of serious problems with recruitment and retention
of social workers in Wales, especially in the children and families
field where vacancy rates are running at 25 per cent.

Meanwhile. the National Assembly for Wales has launched a new
£2 million service linking GPs with local citizen’s advice
bureaux. The Better Advice, Better Health scheme aims to take
welfare rights provision into primary care settings. By 2004 each
of the 22 local health groups should have a welfare rights service

Health and social services minister Jane Hutt said: “This scheme
is desperately needed. GPs have to deal with many problems where
the solution is not medical, but depends on improving the patient’s
quality of life. The initiative will provide funding for trained
counsellors from the citizen’s advice bureau to run the

Wales’ children’s commissioner is to investigate plans to build
two schools on land that may be contaminated. Peter Clarke, who was
appointed in March, says the matter is one of the first he is
looking into on behalf of the children of Wales.

The commissioner is to be granted more powers following an
amendment to the Children’s Commissioner Bill currently before

This will enable him to consider and make representations on any
matter affecting the rights and welfare of children in Wales.

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