Petition to support GPs signed by nearly 2% of entire population of Northern Ireland

Tens of thousands of patients have signed a BMA Northern Ireland petition calling for urgent investment to tackle the crisis facing general practice.

Dr Arnie McDowell: practices under threat
Dr Arnie McDowell: practices under threat

More than 30,000 people signed the petition, delivered to the Northern Ireland Assembly by assembly member and health committee chair Paula Bradley this week.

BMA leaders launched the petition after warning earlier this year that general practice was on the edge of a full-blown crisis.

A report by the union warned that 74% of practices in Northern Ireland were struggling and nearly 10% barely coping with growing patient lists, staffing gaps and bureaucracy.

GP crisis

The petition calls on health ministers to ensure the survival of general practice by increasing its share of NHS spending to 10%, training more GPs and helping practices free up more time to spend with patients.

Northern Ireland GPC member Dr Arnie McDowell welcomed the huge public support for the petition.

'To collect over 30,000 signatures in just six weeks is testament to how much value people in Northern Ireland place on general practice,' he said.

'We’re overwhelmed and delighted by the support we’ve received and it gives us great heart that the public is backing our calls for immediate action to save general practice in Northern Ireland. We cannot stress enough that the minister of health needs to act on this now.

Practice closures

'The majority of rural practices in Northern Ireland are at serious risk of closure due to workforce and workload issues.  However the depth of the crisis is now such that larger practices in more urban areas are also at increasing risk. '

Ms Bradley said: 'General practice is one of the key bedrocks of every community in Northern Ireland and is the first point of contact for 90% of health and social care related needs.

'However general practice is now in crisis due to an excessive workload, diminishing workforce and inadequate funding.'

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

More than 80% of patients report 'good' overall experience of general practice

More than 80% of patients report 'good' overall experience of general practice

Public satisfaction with GP services remains high, with 82% of patients reporting...

GPs condemn 'deafening silence' from chancellor on COVID support funding

GPs condemn 'deafening silence' from chancellor on COVID support funding

GP leaders have condemned a 'deafening silence' on COVID-19 relief funding for general...

Viewpoint: How has the government handled coronavirus? I feel a rant coming on

Viewpoint: How has the government handled coronavirus? I feel a rant coming on

A national newspaper asked readers how well the government had handled coronavirus....

General Practice Insights: The future of the patient consultation after COVID-19

General Practice Insights: The future of the patient consultation after COVID-19

Welcome to the first of our General Practice Insights reports on key issues for the...

Pandemic could shatter social prescribing as one in three link workers plan to quit

Pandemic could shatter social prescribing as one in three link workers plan to quit

GPs have demanded more resources to support social prescribers after a poll found...

GPs say at least half of patient consultations should be carried out remotely after COVID-19

GPs say at least half of patient consultations should be carried out remotely after COVID-19

A GPonline survey of more than 500 GPs has predicted that over half of patient appointments...