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GP-led Care Working Group to be established

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Health Minister Simon Hamilton today announced the creation of a cross-cutting working group to look at the issues facing GP-led primary care services in Northern Ireland.

Recognising the challenges facing patients in securing timely GP appointments, the group will look at both short term and long term measures to ensure citizens in Northern Ireland can continue to access world class primary healthcare advice, treatment and facilities.

The group will include representation from General Practice, nursing, Allied Health Professionals, and Health and Social Care Trusts. The work will be led by officials from the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety.

Simon Hamilton said: “We face challenges across our health and social care system, given rising demand for services. Our primary care services are at the frontline in facing this challenge, with GP surgeries now dealing with 5.5 million more consultations a year than in 2004.

“It’s clear that if we are to deal with the challenge of rising demand, we must find more innovative and radical approaches to delivering services. The status quo is not sustainable.

“I have therefore asked my Department to work with health and care professionals to assess the way primary care services are delivered and consider how we ensure we have a service which is fit for the future.”

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