O’Neill shows support for GP Services

Date published: 27 July 2016

Health Minister Michelle O’Neill has today met with the BMA General Practice Committee Chair, Dr Tom Black to discuss a range of issues facing GP surgeries.

The Minister said: “I am very aware of the increasing demand for GP services and I have had an opportunity today to listen to the concerns of the BMA GP Committee about the sustainability of General Practice.”

Michelle O’Neill said:  “I have been clear about my determination to move the focus of our system from acute services to primary and community care.   

“Today I’m announcing a further investment of over £900k in GP Federations.  This funding will help broaden the skills mix in primary care as well as enhance capacity to meet growing patient demand.  Working together through Federations will help GPs find new ways of working to address the challenges they face.

“It is particularly important that we ensure small rural and single handed practices are supported to continue to deliver services in their communities.  The investment I am announcing today should be of particular benefit to these smaller surgeries that will benefit from the economies of scale that working as part of a Federation could bring.” 

The Minister added:  “GPs are at the centre of our health and care system and I intend to build on the positive steps that have already been taken to support these services, including the investment of £1.2m to fund additional GP training places and the £7m invested into the GP contract this year.”

Emphasising her commitment to driving long term reform in health and social care Michelle O’Neill said: “In addition to the investment I have announced today I will be carefully considering the recommendations from the recent GP led Care Review in developing my long-term plans for the continued provision of high quality GP services and I look forward to continuing to work with the BMA General Practice Committee.”

Notes to editors: 

  1. A GP Federation is a group of GP Practices that has formed to create a ‘not for profit’ company for the purposes of delivering healthcare services. Each GP Practice is represented on the GP Federation by one ‘Member director’ appointed by each practice. There are 17 Federations right across the north. 
  2. Each Federation covers approximately 100,000 patients and on average around 20 GP Practices. The four Local Medical Committees and NIGPC have agreed a single organisational model based on ‘not for profit’ Community Interest Companies (CICs).
  3. The level of General Medical Services funding has increased over recent years with investment of approximately £6million in 2013/14, a further £3million in 14/15 and up to £15million in 15/16, including Financial Transactions Capital.
  4. The key issues the GP-led care Working Group focused on were building a stable GP workforce, GP training, the structures and teams to support GPs, developing a sustainable out of hours service, innovation, infrastructure improvement, quality and integration of services, population health and wellbeing and improving patients experience.  The working group included representation from the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, Royal College of General Practitioners, the Northern Ireland GPC, the Royal College of Nursing and Health and Social Care Trusts.
  5. Working Group report
  6. Media enquiries about this press release to DHSSPS Press Office on 028 9052 0074, or out of hours contact to Duty Press Officer via pager number 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned. Follow us on twitter @healthdpt

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