GP leaders in Northern Ireland call for urgent action to tackle escalating crisis

Dr Ursula Mason, Chair of the Royal College of GPs in Northern Ireland and Dr Alan Stout, Chair of BMA GP Committee in Northern Ireland met with the five main political parties today to outline the scale of the crisis facing general practice in Northern Ireland.

Speaking after the event Dr Ursula Mason, RCGPNI Chair, commented:

"We welcomed the opportunity to engage with our local political representatives today, but the backdrop of our conversation was challenging as general practice faces unprecedented pressure and a risk of total destabilisation across the region.

“We are also acutely aware that our ability to respond to the crisis is significantly reduced by the lack of a functioning Government in Northern Ireland and we repeated our call for elected representatives to get back to the table and do the job they were elected to do, for the sake of our health service."

Dr Alan Stout, BMA GP Committee Chair added:

“At today’s meeting we made it clear that if action is not taken soon to address the issues and stabilise general practice the consequences for patients will be severe. We have consistently highlighted the problems we are facing, there are not enough GPs coming into the profession, an increasing number of GPs are choosing to retire early and there is a huge and relentless workload across the system.

“Every day I hear from GP colleagues who are at breaking point and struggling to keep the doors open.

“It is therefore no surprise this has manifested itself in GP practices being forced to hand back their contracts and leaving communities without the vital service we provide."

Further information

Cliona McCarney - 0203 188 7726

Notes to editor

RCGPNI and BMA GP Committee jointly hosted this cross-party roundtable discussion. The political representatives present were; Colm Gildernew MLA, Pam Cameron MLA, Paula Bradshaw MLA, Alan Chambers MLA, Colin McGrath MLA.