Concern over Derry GPs’ high patient numbers

SDLP MLA Sinéad McLaughlin has expressed concern at the high number of patients that GPs in the Derry area have.

Monday, 28th June 2021, 2:03 pm
Updated Monday, 28th June 2021, 2:07 pm

The Foyle MLA described the ratio of patients to GPs, as a ‘worrying situation.’

In a written question to the Health Minister, Ms. McLaughlin asked for a breakdown of the number of patients per GP practice, and per GP in each Trust. GPs in the Western Trust area have an average of 1,490 patients each, compared to an average of 1,423 per GP across the north, and 1,305 in Belfast. That is an additional 185 patients per GP in the Western Trust region compared to Belfast.

On average, each Western Trust GP practice serves 6,924 patients compared to 6,252 patients across NI, and 5,695 patients on average in Belfast.

Ms. McLaughlin said: “This is a very worrying situation. It is no wonder that I have so many constituents who complain at the difficulty of contacting their GP or getting an appointment - even before the Covid pandemic. The Western Trust area, including Derry has far too few GPs.

“This is why the SDLP campaigned for years for the Magee Medical School, to create a flow of doctors graduating locally. We know, statistically, that students who graduate in an area are very much more likely to locate in that area after they have graduated. This is especially true for an area such as Derry which has an exceptionally high quality of life and low cost of living.

“I welcome the first intake of students in the Medical School this year and I urge them to continue living in the city after they graduate so that we can increase the number of doctors in our area and reduce the ratio of patients to GPs.”