GP funds boost welcome

An additional £8.8m will be allocated to GP services in Northern Ireland as part of the general medical services contract for 2018/19.

The BMA has welcomed the resources but has warned that it continues to be a challenging time for primary care.

The cash includes an extra £1m to cover increased indemnity costs, £1.8m to address demographic pressures (including rising patient lists due to population increases), and £4.54m to build on the practice-based pharmacist scheme.

The Department of Health in Northern Ireland has also announced £1.5m to improve and expand GP premises.

BMA Northern Ireland GPs committee chair Tom Black said any extra money in general practice was to be welcomed.

‘GPs will be particularly happy to see further investment towards demography increases as our population is now living longer and with more complex health needs.

‘This is being felt acutely among working GPs as their numbers continue to dwindle across the country while patient numbers grow.

‘The environment for primary care is still an extremely challenging one, yet despite this GPs remain committed as ever to providing the best possible service and level of care for their patients in these circumstances.’

The £8.8m is over and above the £15m targeted towards primary care from the £100m transformation fund announced last month.

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