Belfast Telegraph

GPs issue caution over care reforms

By Lisa Smyth

Family doctors say they will be unable to cope with the additional workload after healthcare reforms without adequate funding.

The British Medical Association (BMA) in Northern Ireland said more funds must be made available to GP surgeries if they are to provide services currently in place at Daisy Hill Hospital.

The doctors’ union was reacting to news that health bosses are planning to move services out of Daisy Hill Hospital in Newry and into the community.

It has emerged the Southern Health Trust is planning to reduce GP practices and create seven treatment centres as part of Transforming Your Care.

To implement the changes and encourage GPs to move, the trust would have to buy buildings or pay off current leases.

Dr Arnie McDowell, a member of the BMA (NI) GP committee, said the union supports the idea of moving care into the community. But he stressed: "If funding does not follow then it will destabilise general practice."

A trust spokeswoman said: "Proposals are at still at an early stage and are part of the long term development of services across the Southern trust which are will ensure safe, sustainable, quality services which meet the health and social needs of local populations."

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