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Finance minister unveils £72m funding boost for health services

Northern Ireland has announced a £72m finance injection into the NHS.

Finance minister Máirtín Ó Muilleoir said this was to help alleviate ‘well-documented pressures’ on the health service.

It comes as the Northern Ireland Executive had already announced a £7m increase in GP contractual funding for 2016/17.

But this comes as 85% of Northern Irish practices are struggling and at least three Northern Irish practices are in danger of closure because of GP shortages.

Mr Ó Muilleoir said: ‘The pressures in our health service are well documented and an additional £72million funding will go a considerable way to help addressing these issues.

‘It brings the total additional funding provided to health this year to £200 million and is evidence of the Executive’s commitment to protecting our health service.’

He added that the Executive had managed to avoid cuts to the budget despite Westminster’s ‘austerity agenda’.

The increase to the health budget is part of a wider £175 million of funding increases also boosting the budgets in education, infrastructure and skills.