Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 26 April 2015

Patients sign up to save GP services

A local doctor is calling for the public to support a petition to save general practice services.

Dr Jimmy Courtney is heading up a major campaign by the BMA to thwart a threat to the vital services provided by family doctors across Northern Ireland.

The petition, along with posters highlighting the plight facing patients, will be available in GP surgeries throughout the province.

According to the BMA, a total of £5 million has been lost from general practice funding across Northern Ireland since last August. This will result in an average cut of £15,000 per practice and will be a recurrent in the budget, the medical association warns.

This loss in essential funding is likely to lead to

Withdrawal of services

Job losses

Longer waiting times

More hospital admissions

Longer hospital stays

Dr Jimmy Courtney said: “We have previously highlighted this blatant cut to an essential frontline health service and are worried about the consequences.

“GPs want to be able to continue to treat patients in a safe, adequately funded environment, but patients need to be aware that one of the most important services available to them is under threat.”

He continued: “As advocates for our patients, GPs have constantly iterated to the Minister and senior policy makers at the Health and Social Care Board their grave concerns about the loss of this essential funding.

“However, we believe more cuts are coming and so we are asking patients to show their support for general practice by signing a petition, which is available in their GP’s surgery. It is clear that only by working together will we be able to defend general practice, a key part of the health service in our community,” he added.

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