Bradshaw: Detail needed on how GP services will be restored

Alliance Health Spokesperson Paula Bradshaw MLA has pressed the Health Minister for details on how his Department will ensure GP services are fully up running to meet the backlog and ongoing demands on primary care as Covid-19 Centres continue to operate.

Speaking as the Minister outlined the beginnings of a recovery plan in the Assembly on Tuesday, Paula said it was disappointing the Minister had not yet been able to provide full details on how the transition would work.

She said: “The system set up to deal with fighting Covid-19 has been working well, and I want to commend all those who at times sacrificed seeing their own children and families to work in one of the dedicated centres.

“Yet some of those treating patients would otherwise be supporting patients in their community as GPs and it is concerning that we are still unclear how we will be able to operate a full GP service – which is already very understaffed – while maintaining Covid-19 centres in the short to medium term.

“With more stories showing a significant drop in cancer referrals, the lasting legacy of this pandemic itself has the potential to put the strain on the health service and on the people who use it. GPs are the first port of call for the majority in our community and the Minister needs to address fully how he will ensure quick access to a GP and to primary care across Northern Ireland.”