Commenting on the Department of Health’s announcement of support for general practice, Dr Alan Stout, BMA NI GP committee chair said: "Today’s announcement of funding to support general practice is welcome. Hopefully it will help some of the immediate pressures that GPs are facing as well as beginning to address some of the more systemic and complex issues, including the number of GP trainee places available.
“General practice has not closed and never closed. Consultation rates and the number of patients contacting their surgery continue to be high and the current system is struggling to cope. All of our staff are feeling the pressure and we recognise that the difficulty in access and delays in seeing your GP cause frustration to patients. But we really are doing our best.
“This funding will help us address some immediate issues around telephony and the issues patients face in contacting their surgery. Combined with the expanded roll-out of multi-disciplinary teams and improvements to out of hours we are confident that patients will see improvements and equally importantly GPs will feel under less pressure and able to focus on what they do best, caring for patients.”