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Patients in petition plea for action on GP 'crisis'

By David Young

Published 11/10/2016

Paula Bradley
Paula Bradley

Excessive workloads, fewer doctors and inadequate funding have plunged general practice in Northern Ireland into crisis, the Assembly has heard.

Paula Bradley MLA handed over a petition signed by more than 30,000 patients calling for action, and urged Health Minister Michelle O'Neill to commit 10% of her budget to GP services.

The DUP representative told MLAs that "general practice is now in crisis owing to an excessive workload, a diminishing workforce and inadequate funding".

She added: "Our population is increasing, with a greater proportion of people living longer and patients with more complex and lifelong conditions. Proper investment needs to be made if general practice is to survive. At present, we do not have enough GPs to service the population in Northern Ireland. The petition calls on the minister to increase training numbers immediately to 111.

"The increase from 65 to 85 training places this year is very welcome, but does not go far enough to meet the demand."

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