RCGPNI Chair responds to the reinstatement of funding to primary care vasectomy service in Northern Ireland

On Minister Swann’s announcement on the future of vasectomy services in Northern Ireland, Dr Ursula Mason, a GP in Carryduff and Chair of the Royal College of GPs Northern Ireland, commented: 

“On behalf of our members, I am delighted to welcome the reinstatement of funding to primary care vasectomy in Northern Ireland through GP Elective Care Services (GPECS). 

We know that the suspension of this vital service last October caused a lot of worry for people across our communities. We welcome the positive impact the reinstatement of GP vasectomy services will have for patients, who will now be able to make more equitable decisions around family planning, rather than being faced with widening socio-economic and gender-based health inequalities. 

This will also be welcome news for our GP colleagues who have told us how much they value the opportunity GPECs offers to enhance their skill mix and build a promising career that involves developing their special interests. 

It has long been recognised that enhancing the capacity of community-based interventions and treatment through primary care is central to the transformation of our health and social care system. As a first step towards realising the vision of the 2017 “Delivering together” 10-year plan, this investment in GP vasectomy services is an example of transformation in action, allowing patients who would otherwise have been languishing on prohibitively long waiting lists in secondary care to be able to be treated more quickly, at an affordable cost, closer to home. 

This announcement is testament to what is possible with a functioning Executive and Minister who is willing to take robust decisions which will benefit patients in the long-term. I want to thank Minister Swann for investing in general practice, and hope this is the first decision of many to strengthen our services and to allow us to deliver better outcomes for our patients.”

Further information

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Notes to editors

The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 54,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.