McGrath Backs Role Of MDTs In GP Surgeries

McGrath says MDTs key to protecting GP services

Assembly opposition Health Spokesperson Colin McGrath has said that multi-disciplinary teams (MDTs) are key to protecting GP services across the North.

He was speaking after a successful SDLP Opposition amendment to a motion on Extreme Pressures in Primary Care in the Assembly on Tuesday.

It called on the Health Minister to publish a timescale for the full implementation of MDTs in surgeries across the North.

South Down MLA Mr McGrath said: “The pressure on GP services is causing real concern in communities across the North.

“We have heard endless stories of patients struggling to get the care they need and burned-out GPs handing back contracts because they simply cannot keep up with the demand or cope with the pressure anymore.

Colin McGrath, South Down MLA and the Assembly Opposition Health spokesperson, supported an amendment to a health bill and called on the Health Minister to promote Multi Disciplinary Teams in GP surgeries.

“It’s clear that we are approaching the breaking point in our primary care sector. Dealing with the mounting crisis facing us is not lost on any party, but making the necessary changes will cost money and the current budget falls well short.

“Our amendment today focused on the importance of MDTs which were piloted in Down and Derry in 2018 and were shown to garner positive results.

“By bringing together different health groups like GPs, pharmacists, district nurses and social workers under the one roof we were able to safeguard services and prevent the sense of collapse that afflicts so much of our health service.

“The pilot proved so successful that MDTs have been fully implemented in Down, but the majority of areas still have no provision at all.

“I’m urging the Minister to outline a timescale for when this will follow in the rest of the North.

“It not only supports health staff, but also makes it easier for the public to access healthcare they need in a bespoke facility and evidence shows that practices with MDTs in place are less likely to hand their contracts back.

“MDTs are an essential tool in ending health inequalities, give better care to patients and provide greater support and stability for our healthcare practitioners.

“I therefore urge the Minister to follow through on the Assembly’s call for their implementation and for the Executive to ensure he has the funds to do so.”