Chambers voices concerns on worsening health crisis

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Chambers voices concerns on worsening health crisis

Ulster Unionist Health Spokesperson Alan Chambers said:

“The UUP is becoming seriously concerned about the overall fragility of our essential primary care services. The pressures across the service are well known and have been caused in large part by historic underinvestment.

“Yet, despite the sheer importance of primary care, a swift and all-encompassing response has all too often been lacking. For instance, the last UUP Minister of Health - Robin Swann - previously had no choice but to go against the advice of his own Department of Health officials and increase the number of GP training places in Northern Ireland to an all-time high of 121. The advice not to increase training places – despite the critical need to do so - was indicative of the challenges of not having a multi-year funding settlement in place, as well as perhaps a lack of urgency in which the issue was recognised previously.

“The ongoing absence of a functioning Executive and Ministers in post are once again starving the system of the political accountability and decision-making that it so obviously requires.

“GPs and their staff are seeing the gap between demand and what they are actually able to deliver widening by the day. Yet, as we enter now into the critical winter months, our GPs do not yet even know if or when they will receive the DDRB uplift in pay and expenses that should have been confirmed months ago.

“Whilst the reformation of the Executive would not resolve everything, it would allow a multi-year budget to be set, a pay award to be delivered, as well as other critical action such as identifying an appropriate and final way forward for GP Indemnity in Northern Ireland.”