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97% of GPs willing to support GPC’s push for mass resignation

GPs across Belfast have overwhelmingly thrown their support behind the BMA’s call for undated resignations to force the government to act and save general practice.

At a crisis meeting held last night – 25 October – more than 200 GPs turned out to discuss what can be done to relieve the pressure facing the health service in Northern Ireland.

Some 97% said they would be willing to sign an undated resignation which calls for an urgent rescue package for primary care.

It is the first of five meetings to be held across the country in the coming weeks.

The Northern Ireland GPC is calling on the government to invest 10% of the health budget in safe sustainable GP services.

Other rescue measures include training more GPs to save practices at risk of closure, investing in IT and cutting bureaucracy.

The LMC first put forward a motion to quit the health service if action was not taken was in March, giving the government six months.

Last night’s vote came just hours after health minister, Michelle O’Neill announced a 10-year plan to overhaul the health service in Northern Ireland with a greater emphasis on primary care.

Speaking at last night’s meeting, Northern Ireland GPC chair, Dr Tom Black said the turnout showed just how much pressure GPs were under.

‘We obviously knew things were bad in general practice but we didn’t realise things were that bad.

‘What we have heard tonight are the very issues we have been flagging up in general practice for many months now and unfortunately it looks like it’s crunch time.’

He added: ‘While there were some positive announcements by Minister O’Neill today as part of her health and wellbeing plans, until we have greater clarity about the funding for these initiatives we need to move forward with our own plans.’