£5.5m GP services access boost a ‘first step’

Sinn Féin MLA Ciara Ferguson has welcomed the announcement of a £5.5 million boost as a ‘first step’ to improving people’s access to GP services.

Sinn Fein MLA Ciara Ferguson.
Sinn Fein MLA Ciara Ferguson.

The Foyle MLA said: “I welcome the announcement by the health minister of an extra £5.5 million to help improve people’s access to GP services.

“This funding will be used to improve patient care and the telephone service offered by GP practices for people ordering prescriptions and over the phone consultations.

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“People are having major difficulties getting GP appointments and it’s important that efforts are made to address this issue.

“While this is an important step in supporting our under-pressure GP surgeries, much more needs to be done.”

Ciara Ferguson added: “The health minister must come forward with his plan to roll out Multi - Disciplinary Teams to general practices so that pressure can be relieved on the GPs and the treatments that patients need can be provided in a timely manner.”

Health Minister Robin Swann has confirmed £3.8m has been committed to support additional patient care through the winter and up to £1.7m is being made available to further improve telephony infrastructure and improve accessibility, such as the use of online systems for ordering repeat prescriptions, helping to free up telephone lines and staff time. This is in addition to the £1.7m already invested to upgrade GP telephony systems to improve telephone access.