A call has been made for the NI Executive to roll up their sleeves and resolve the growing GP crisis.
Ulster Unionist Jo-Anne Dobson made the call after local GPs described the current situation as ‘in crisis’.
Both Jo-Anne Dobson and party colleague Robbie Butler met representatives from the British Medical Association (BMA).
Mrs Dobson who is the UUP Health Spokesperson said: “Our GPs are the gatekeepers of our health service and over the summer months I have been holding a series of meetings with representatives from eminent bodies including the Royal College of GPs (RCGP) and the BMA.
“It is very clear that failure to take urgent action to resolve this crisis will see our local GP services collapse.
“This is the clear message coming from GPs themselves and their professional bodies the BMA and RCGP.
“Health managers and indeed the Health Minister must move away from their current position of fire fighting towards resolving the underlying issues affecting all practices.
“This is the only action which will avoid collapse of the service altogether. A collapse which will inevitably affect public health and result in people coming to unnecessary harm.”
The meeting with Dr Arnold McDowell, Chairperson of the local Newry and District GP Federation of Family Practices and the BMAs Political Liaison Officer Bernadette Maginnis comes just days after Mrs Dobson met with RGCP Chair Dr John O’Kelly..
“Action must include allowing GP Federations to become the catalyst of positive change within the system and addressing the week by week pressurised situations being felt across our local practices.
“Robbie and I both sit on the Stormont Health Committee and we both hold concerns that the Department are continuing to adopt a ‘hands off’ approach to this issue. We will be continuing the challenge this approach when Stormont returns from recess.”