Northern Ireland GPs to receive £8.8m boost under new GMS contract

GPs in Northern Ireland have welcomed a new GMS contract for 2018/19, which includes an investment of £8.8m in general practice.

GPC Northern Ireland chair Dr Tom Black
GPC Northern Ireland chair Dr Tom Black

The deal announced on Monday by Northern Ireland's health department is the 'largest funding allocation for general practice since 2004' according to officials. The funding increase brings the total rise in investment in GPs and related services to nearly £22m for 2018/19.

Just over half (£4.54m) of the £8.8m has been allocated to a practice-based pharmacist scheme, which aims to place around 200 pharmacists in practices in Northern Ireland by the end of the year.

The funding also includes £1m to cover increased indemnity costs, £1.8m for demographic pressures and £1.5m for premises upgrades.

GP investment

The funding is in addition to £12.78m invested in general practice this year from a £100m 'transformation fund' that aims to 'help GPs find new ways of working and support the implementation of multi-disciplinary teams'.

BMA Northern Ireland chair Dr Tom Black said: ‘Any extra money in general practice is welcomed and this latest investment brings the total extra funding this year to £21.58m.

‘GPs will be particularly happy to see further investment towards demography increases as our population is now living longer and with more complex health needs. This is being felt acutely among working GPs as their numbers continue to dwindle across the country while patient numbers grow.'

Dr Black added that, despite the environment for primary care remaining extremely challenging, GPs ‘remain committed as ever to providing the best possible service and level of care for their patients in these circumstances’.

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