On a visit to Saintfield Health Centre today, Health Minister Simon Hamilton announced the biggest investment in GP training for over 10 years.
The Minister said: “I have been engaging with GPs regarding the issues facing primary care including those associated with ensuring there is a sufficient supply of GPs. I recently discussed the matter in depth with the First Minister Arlene Foster who highlighted particular challenges in the west of the province.
“This investment of £1.2million per year in 20 additional GP training places is the most significant investment in GP training in over a decade. Northern Ireland has the best GP workforce in the world, but also the oldest in the UK. With increasing demand from an ageing population it is vital we continue to invest in our workforce if we are to ensure people can get an appointment with their GP when they need to.
“This announcement builds on my recent announcement of funding for Practice Based Pharmacists, which will see GPs supported by those with the skills to help manage patients. Nevertheless, we need more GPs to work in practices, alongside more pharmacists, nurses and other professionals.”
The Minister added: “Maintaining and developing our health and social care system to meet the needs of all of us in Northern Ireland is a major challenge, with General Practice playing a key role in us succeeding.”