GP surgeries are at breaking point, warns Donnelly, in response to Audit Office report

Alliance Health spokesperson Danny Donnelly MLA has said, in response to a newly published NI Audit Office report spelling out the crisis facing GP services, that this cannot be another distressing report that goes unnoticed.

Health Danny Donnelly

The report's findings include that almost 1 in 3 GP practices have sought crisis support services in the last four years, and that 13 practices handed back contracts or gave notice to do so between March 2022 and March 2023, with 39 practices assessed as being at risk in March 2023.


Mr Donnelly has called on the Health Minister to take urgent action.


The East Antrim MLA has said: “Whilst immensely disappointing, the findings within this report are unfortunately not surprising, and largely spell out what we already know. The state of general practice in Northern Ireland is at crisis point.


Every day we’re hearing from constituents about just how difficult it is to access their GPs for primary care. The conditions just simply aren’t there within practices to meet demand. Chronic underfunding, lack of proper workforce planning, and the impact of the Covid pandemic have provided a perfect storm of conditions to lead the service to this breaking point.


My colleague Nuala McAllister MLA and I met with the Royal College of GPs last week to discuss the crisis facing general practice, and we will continue to work closely with them to ensure that addressing this remains an utmost political priority.


However, making the changes necessary requires leadership from the very top. This cannot be yet another distressing report which goes unnoticed and unanswered.


We’re calling on the Health Minister to take urgent action around workforce planning, funding, and overall transformation of the health service to ensure that general practice here in NI can have a sustainable future.”