General practitioner Northern Ireland

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Benefit GPs with funds, argue doctors

Additional money given to Northern Ireland health bosses must be allocated to primary care, doctors leaders have said.

BMA Northern Ireland GPs committee chair Tom Black said it was essential the additional funding was made available to family doctors to help them cope with the increasing workloads generated by the health service reorganisation TYC (Transforming Your Care).

The Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety has received £33.3m from the Northern Ireland Executive in the October monitoring round.

The monitoring rounds take place three times in each financial year — June, October and January. This process is the vehicle for the Executive to reallocate funding and address unforeseen financial pressures within the financial year.

Careful investment

Health, social services and public safety minister Edwin Poots said he planned to use £19m of the money allocated to his department to help implement the TYC agenda.

A further £13m will be used to cut waiting times in a range of specialties including orthopaedics, general surgery, ophthalmology, gynaecology and dermatology.

But Dr Black said: ‘Under TYC, an awful lot of work has already shifted from secondary to primary care, which has so far been unfunded.

‘I would expect a significant amount of the funding being allocated to TYC to go towards primary care to allow us to enhance delivery of care in the community. There is also great concern in general practice that the impending contract imposition will create a situation, where we will not have the capacity to consider taking on more work as part of the shift.’

Dr Black said it was essential health bosses consulted with family doctors when deciding how the additional funding was spent. He also criticised the decision to allocate funding to address hospital waiting times.