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Independents' Day

Three Northern Irish practices at risk due to GP shortage

The Health & Social Board advertise for GP’s to take over surgeries as Primary care services hit breaking point

Three practices in Northern Ireland are in danger of closure after the Government has been unable to find providers to take them over, despite a £7m increase in GP contractual funding.

The Northern Ireland Health & Social Board is advertising for a provider to take over two surgeries, the Silverbirch Medical practice in Bangor and Roslea Medical Practice in Enniskillen, which are in danger of closing due to recruitment problems.

It follows the board advertising for a GP who was willing to take over a different practice in March - the Rathkeeland House surgery in Crossmaglen.

In total, 8,000 patients are registered with the three practices.

The NIHSB told the Belfast Telegraph: ‘We continues to take all necessary steps to ensure that services continue to be provided to the population of Northern Ireland’

Dr Patrick Fee, a GP at Rathkeeland House, said he does not ’feel he can deliver a safe service due to the number of patients he is responsible for’.

Dr Brian Patterson, a member of the task force working to help struggling GP surgeries, said: ‘Sadly, I can’t magic up trained GPs, nor folk who want to run practices, as they are small business.

’These are short-term issues but in the long term the model of general practice will have to change to survive.’




Readers' comments (4)

  • The start of a tidal wave of closures here I am afraid, unless serious investment of resources happens soon, these are the beginning of a raft of closures about to hit us in NI

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  • 'The start of a tidal wave of closures here' - good

    it's the only way anyone will start to take notice and ask the right questions.

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  • Mr Mephisto

    Since the good Friday agreement and the devolution of Health Care to the Northern Ireland Assembly we have had a succession of health ministers who have been more interested in playing politics, posturing, and navel gazing than sorting out our health care system. The have been advised by civil servants who are the only ones who have had any knowledge of how to run public services. None of the health ministers to date have any relevant skills or training in anything worthwhile that they have brought to the job. The civil servants have tried to block some of the more “out there” policies some of these individuals have wanted to introduce. This positive aspect of civil servant behaviour has been more than negated by the fact that the civil servants have also served their own agenda. The civil servants have been less than truthful about their own successive failures in running the Health Service. This has led to collusion in both camps where neither side has been honest or truthful about the compete omnihambles that they have both consorted to create. Thankfully our last health minister (Simon Hamilton) had some sense and decided to set up a commission to address the challenges facing our almighty mess of a healthcare system. This commission was to be chaired by Professor Rafael Bengoa – someone with real knowledge and proven ability in sorting out a failed health system. Unfortunately we have had a further round of musical chairs and we have yet another new health minister who probably knows nothing whatsoever about running a health care system . Unless the Bengoa commission is allowed to do what it needs to do our health system will sink like the Titanic. Unfortunately with a further round of musical chairs we are probably in for a further round of playing politics, posturing, and navel gazing whilst our health care system collapses.

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  • They would rather send warships out than fund health or education. And build 4 nuclear submarines.
    Perhaps they are right, these ships may be more important than our children's health and education, but I cannot ever understand their priorities.

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