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73% of patients happy with GP access in Northern Ireland

Almost three-quarters of patients remain satisfied with their ability to access a GP according to new figures from Northern Ireland’s Patient and Client Council.

Just 26.5% of patients expressed any dissatifcation with access, but the RCGP Northern Ireland (RCGPNI) has warned this figure will grow unless vital funding is made available to general practice to enable GPs to meet ‘unparalleled’ demand.

The RCGP, in collaboration with the National Association for Patient Participation, recently launched the ‘Put Patients First: Back General Practice’ campaign, which calls for general practice to receive 11% of the NHS budget by 2017.

Commenting on the survey results, the chair of the RCGPNI, Dr John O’Kelly, said: ‘General practice in Northern Ireland is experiencing unparalleled levels of pressure.

‘General practice cannot keep doing more in a climate where investment in the service is falling in real terms.’

He added: ‘I am proud of my colleagues and their staff in delivering quality services under the worst financial constraints I have known as a GP – if the Government really wants to help GPs provide the high-quality care that patients deserve, they must increase funding to 11% of the NHS budget by 2017.’

A similar survey of patient satisfaction in the UK, conducted by the King’s Fund last year, found similair levels of patient satisfaction with access, and even noticed a 1% improvement on the 2012/13 figures.