Bradshaw offers cautious welcome to increased GP investment plans

Alliance Health spokesperson Paula Bradshaw MLA has said the plans for new investment in GP services are welcome, but cautioned there is still a significant financial shortfall.

The South Belfast MLA was speaking after the announcement of £26.76 million for GP services in Northern Ireland, including up to £18.17 million for the continuation of transformation projects commenced in 2018/19.

“The proposals for the allocation look fundamentally sound and seem broadly in line with the priorities GPs themselves had been seeking over the past months and years. That is welcome,” she said.

“It is particularly noteworthy there will be increased investment in multi-disciplinary teams, specifically including mental health support, and there will also be capital investment in premises to enable larger teams and on-site training.

“It remains concerning, however, there is no democratic scrutiny of such proposals in advance. There is also the ongoing reality the investment is nothing like the amount really required to deliver transformation of services with a shift in emphasis to primary care. The total additional investment over a three-year period is barely half of what was identified as required.

“This continues to show the serious difficulty being caused to patients by the refusal of the big parties to take responsibility for allocating the necessary funds and carrying out the necessary actions in government. For the time being, we may be thankful administrators are doing the best they can in the circumstances and the priorities they are choosing seem to be the right ones.”