McAllister welcomes progress on GP contracts

Alliance Health spokesperson, Nuala McAllister MLA, has welcomed the agreement of a new contract for GPs which includes the cost of indemnity charges.

Nuala McAllister

Ms McAllister said: “Until now, GPs in Northern Ireland were the only group in the UK which did not benefit from a government scheme for indemnity costs. This is something the sector has been highlighting for a lengthy period of time, and which I have raised with the Health Minister on multiple occasions since joining the health committee.

“I hope this new agreement can help stabilise already struggling GP services, and discussions can continue to ensure full parity with the rest of the UK in the long term.

“Recruitment and retention are a major challenge in the sector and I hope the change to indemnity charges can increase the number of trainees who choose to practise in Northern Ireland.

“With an ageing population, growing waiting lists, and emergency departments over-flowing, it is crucial that primary care is accessible and in a position to provide that first stage of care when appropriate.

“While it is welcome to see progress being made on this contract negotiation, it is crucial for the Health Minister to make progress on a number of outstanding negotiations, including junior doctors, consultants, and dentists. The Minister must do everything in his power to avoid the need for further industrial action."