15th June 2016

GPs “on the edge of full-blown crisis” in Northern Ireland

The Northern Ireland GPC (NIGPC) chairman, Dr Tom Black declared in an announcement that primary care in Northern Ireland is on the edge of a full-blown crisis. He said 3/4th of General Practitioners struggles to cope up with the elevating workload in practices and could barely handle the situation.

The British Medical Association (BMA) reports the problems in practice have been recruiting GPs, growing list sizes and swelling reliance on the GP locum staff.

GPonline, the GP online service portal survey findings suggests that the locums carry out a fifth of the total workload at one in seven practices in the UK. It confirms that a 1/4th of vacant GP posts in the UK had been unfilled for more than a year.

GP Vacancies

The GPs of Northern Ireland has stated the problem is particularly in smaller, independent and rural practices. They have very less GPs working in them and finding it hard to fill up the vacancies. It has been said around 50% of GPs are expectant retirees in the next 2 to 5 years in the practice. Thus, bestowing a huge recruitment need as soon as possible at such places.

The GPs has further reported in the struggle on taking annual leave affecting them adversely in their work life balance and the job.

GP workload

General Practitioner leaders in Northern Ireland are demanding for an urgent investment to support the profession and a long term plan to raise funding to at least 10% of the Northern Ireland NHS budget. A petition will be signed by the patients of Northern Ireland to support the demand.

The NIGPC’s further list of demands to rescue General Practice:

  • A stable fund to support practices at serious risk
  • A GP task force to support at-risk practices.
  • National standard patient consultation for day-to-day practice.
  • A review of GP system
  • More GP training places
  • Out of hours primary care investments
  • Funding for extra primary care team, which includes mental health practitioners, advanced nurse practitioners, health visitors, physiotherapists and physician associates.

For more updates and information on General Practice in the UK, visit our Blog page.

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