Wells Announces £15million Investment In GP Service

Health Minister Jim Wells today announced a £15million investment package in GP services.

The Minister made the announcement as he visited a GP surgery in Carryduff. The Minister said: “GP’s across Northern Ireland provide a high standard of care to their patients. But I fully recognise the challenges faced by General Practice in meeting rising demand for appointments and services.

dn_screen“GP’s play a pivotal role in delivering care closer to home, where it is safe and sensible to do so. This package of investment will help to address some of the current difficulties and plan for future challenges in General Practice.”

The package includes:

*  Up to £3.1million of investment in Out Of Hours GP services.

*  Up to £1.2million of investment helping GPs meet demand for blood tests and other diagnostic work in the community delivered through GP Federations.

*  Up to £300,000 to recruit and retain GP’s.

*  Releasing up to £10million of funding for GP Practices to borrow to upgrade and expand their premises and £350,000 to meet the ongoing costs of these new premises

The estimated total number of consultations in Northern Ireland rose from 7.22 million in 2003/04 to 12.71 million in 2013/14 an increase of 76% and demand for GP Out of Hours has also increased 18% in the last 5 years.

Recognising the current pressure on the Out of Hours Service, the Minister went on to say: “I have listened to the concerns regarding the current Out of Hours Service and today’s financial package includes a significant investment of up to £3.1million to address the increased demand. This will help ensure that there is an alternative to our stretched Emergency Departments for those who cannot wait to see their own GP.”

In addition to investing new funds the Minister also announced he was cutting bureaucracy, so more of their time can be spent with patients. He said: “GPs will now have 15 fewer government indicators to meet , meaning more time to spend with patients and less time filling in forms.”

Concluding the Minister said: “Today’s £15million investment in primary care services is a clear signal of the vital role our GPs play in meeting both the current and future needs of all of us in Northern Ireland.”