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  • RCGP calls for an end to the ‘vicious cycle’ of unfair funding for GP training

    RCGP calls for an end to the ‘vicious cycle’ of unfair funding for GP training

    Tuesday, 10 July 2018 09:39
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    Wednesday, 04 July 2018 15:22
  • Scotland update Golden Hello arrangements for GPs

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    Friday, 29 June 2018 15:11
  • Extra £20m funding will go hand-in-hand with a new 10-year plan for the NHS

    Extra £20m funding will go hand-in-hand with a new 10-year plan for the NHS

    Monday, 18 June 2018 17:31

money4March 30 2016

Northern Ireland’s investment of £17 million in primary care is to include £10 million in financial loans to invest in practice buildings and infrastructure. The total investment also includes further investment in GP services, including the already announced investment in practice-based pharmacists, the Health Minister Simon Hamilton has said.

Announcing the conclusion of this year’s contract negotiations with the British Medical Association’s GP Committee for Northern Ireland, Mr Hamilton said: “Our investment in the 2016-17 contract meets the recommendation of the independent Doctors and Dentists Review Board, will help to address rising demand and will ensure we adopt innovative new ways of working such as on-line appointment booking and repeat prescriptions.

“By working at scale through federations our GPs can help us ensure services are delivered in the community and help address some of the pressures facing our hospitals.”

The Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety says that £2 million of the new investment comes from the £30 million Transformation Fund. “The funding will be focused on addressing the pressures presented by a growing and ageing population, with more staff to support those living with long term conditions.” In addition, £1.25 million from the Transformation Fund would be invested in district nursing and health visiting services.

Mr Hamilton has also received the report of the GP-led Working Group, established in October 2015 to look at the issues facing GP-led primary care services in Northern Ireland. “If we are to address the challenges we face in the health service we must continue to invest in prevention and early intervention. These investments from the Transformation Fund will do just that – ensuring there is the capacity in our nursing and GP services to provide high quality care to those who need it, ” he said

Dr Tom Black, Chair of the BMA’s NIGPC, welcomed the investment which “acknowledges the hard work of GPs who have come up with new ideas to help address the impact of years of under-funding and inadequate workforce planning.”

But he warned: “Despite this, we are still living with the real threat of GP practices closing as doctors retire and cannot be replaced. We are keeping a close watch on this issue, particularly in the border counties where many practices are vulnerable to collapse.”

It was “vital” that the GP-led Care Review is implemented, he said. “Workload has increased substantially in the last 10 years and this has contributed to difficulties in GP recruitment. General practice in Northern Ireland is under-funded compared with the rest of the UK and this situation needs to be reversed to safeguard the future of general practice here.”

Dr John O’Kelly, Chair of the RCGP Northern Ireland, added: “We particularly welcome today’s announcement of additional investment in district nursing and health visiting services. They are an integral part of the primary health care team and work very closely with GPs.”

However, the announced changes have introduced “a further element of uncertainty” for general practice, he warned. “Primary care must be central if we are to successfully reform the commissioning and planning process, so it is vital that GPs and others working in the primary care sector are suitably involved in any decision making at a local level. But what our involvement will be has so far not been clarified.”

Links:

DHSSPS announcement

BMA comment

RCGP comment on primary care investment

RCGP comment on plans to restructure primary care

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