Northern Ireland promised £2 million global sum boost

Practices in Northern Ireland are to receive a £2 million global sum top up to help plug the funding gap caused by a rapid population increase over the last few years.

It is estimated that the registered population of Northern Ireland has increased by 40,000 to 1,750,300 since the new GMS contract came into force in 2004.

Much of this increase has been due to the success of the peace process and economic migration from Eastern Europe.

As part of the new contract deal for Northern Ireland for 2008/9, the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS) said that it will 'add up to £2 million to the GMS budget to address the expanding population '.

GPC Northern Ireland will be consulted by the DHSSPS on how this money should be used.

Dr Brian Dunn, GPC Northern Ireland chairman, said: 'This is an important move and we are grateful for the DHSSPS for recognising the pressure that GPs in Northern Ireland are under.

'The way that the global sum is calculated, by dividing a fixed sum for 2002/3 by the population, leaves GPs in Northern Ireland having to plug the funding deficit themselves', he said.

'This £2 million payment will be enough to help fund the extra 40,000 patients in Northern Ireland and will be welcomed by GPs in Northern Ireland.'

A clinical directed enhanced service (DES) to be introduced in the region may involve a clinical area not originally put forward for inclusion into the quality framework. Osteoporosis, peripheral arterial disease and heart failure were the clinical areas that were submitted for inclusion.

Dr Dunn said: 'There are a number of different clinical areas that are being looked at.'

A decision on the £2.7 million clinical DES is expected soon.

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