A further £8.8million will be invested in GP services in Northern Ireland, it has been confirmed today (Monday).
It brings this year’s total investment in GPs and related services to nearly £22million, the largest funding allocation for General Practice in Northern Ireland since 2004.
The news was confirmed by the Department of Health.
And Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Cllr Julie Flaherty has been quick to welcome the investment.
She campaigned relentlessly for action to help save Portadown Health Centre due to lack of GP cover.
Lord Mayor Flaherty told Armagh I : “I very much welcome this much needed investment into front line GP services and will be pushing hard along with my colleagues to see this money used wisely where it is most needed.
“Our GP practice here in Portadown has been under immense pressure for a number of years, resulting in the collapse of one practice just last year.
“This cannot be allowed to continue.
“We must press for smarter, new thinking for the delivery of front line services.”
The £8.8million announced today includes £4.54 million for the Practice Based Pharmacist scheme, which is freeing up GP time and together with community pharmacy is helping ensure the safe and effective use of medicines for better patient care.
By the end of the year, there will be close to 200 pharmacists working across practices in Northern Ireland.
In addition, £1.8million will be used to address demographic pressures on GP Practices, such as rising populations and more people with long term conditions who need care.
A further £1 million has been allocated to address the rising costs of medical indemnity cover.
The Department has also identified £1.5 million to improve and expand practice premises. This funding will be focussed on supporting practices to create the space for multi-disciplinary teams and to ensure they have the space to train the increased numbers of GPs trainees.
This £8.8m is in addition to the £15m targeted towards enhancing primary care from the £100 million Transformation Fund announced on 9 May 2018.
It will help GPs find new ways of working and support the implementation of multi-disciplinary teams.
This builds on £9.7 million of investment made in GP services in 2017/18, which was itself the largest investment in recent years.