Minister must respond to UK Government’s GP rescue package, says Bradshaw

Health Paula Bradshaw

Alliance Health spokesperson Paula Bradshaw MLA has said the Health Minister must urgently announce a rescue package similar to that announced by the UK Government for GPs in England.

The South Belfast MLA was speaking after the winter rescue package was announced for England, which will see £250 million emergency funding provided for extra locum staff, with the emphasis on providing more same-day appointments.

“The UK Government’s so-called rescue package seems inadequate to meet the pressures faced across the health service this winter. Nevertheless, it shows a direction of travel which we need to consider here,” said Ms Bradshaw.

“Lack of access to GPs, and to primary care in general, remains one of the highest priority healthcare issues facing us currently. If people cannot access the system, it only stores up further problems along the line.

“This will be our first winter facing both COVID and flu at the same time, and combined with our apparent insistence on re-opening everything without any mitigations, this means the pressure on accessing the health service will be extreme. We need to have General Practice in a position to assume a strong and efficient role.”