£3.9m boost for ‘bedrock of health service’ hailed

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The release of an extra £3.9m to raise local doctors’ earnings and help address demographic pressures across the North has been welcomed by local Sinn Féin health spokesperson Patricia Logue who said General Practice was the “bedrock of the health service”.

She made the comments after the Department of Health announced it was investing £1.7m to address changes in demography and £2.2m to uplift the GP contract by 1 per cent.

She said: “Additional investment in GP services is to be welcomed.

“GPs provide vital primary care services to the community and are the bedrock of our health service.

“Investing in GPs is necessary if we are to move towards multidisciplinary primary care teams identified by Michelle O’Neill in her transformation plan Delivering Together.

“It is important GPs are supported to continue to deliver a high standard of care to those in the community who need it.”

The Permanent Secretary of the Department of Health, Richard Pengelly said: “The Department recognises that primary care and GP services are the bedrock of our health and social care system. This investment of a further £3.9m, follows earlier investment this year of £1.9m for elective care and £3.91m to continue the rollout of nearly 300 Practice Based Pharmacists.”

He said the extent of the funding roll-out in the “current difficult financial position” reflected the department’s commitment to primary care.