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Northern Irish GP deal

By Ellie Broughton

Ministers have confirmed the UK-wide 2011/12 GP contract will apply to GPs in Northern Ireland

The Northern Irish health minister Michael McGimpsey consented to the contract on Friday 18 March, four days after it was first received.

GPC Northern Ireland deputy chair, Dr Tom Black, said he was ‘relieved' that the contract has been signed off but was ‘disappointed' at the delay.

‘Family doctors across Northern Ireland have been concerned for their patients in light of the uncertainty that they have faced.'

The contract, now due to start in two weeks time, will provide efficiency savings of 4% but does not include a payrise for GPs.

After the contract was initially refused, Dr Black described the unprecedented situation facing GPs in Northern Ireland as ‘contractual limbo'.

GPC chair Dr Laurence Buckman, who had been ‘extremely unhappy' with the hold-up, said: ‘We have always had a four nation contract and, on behalf of GPs in Northern Ireland, we are therefore pleased that this issue has been resolved.'

Services contract finally agreed for Northern Ireland GPs