GP crisis: ‘No immediate risk to services in Banbridge’

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General Practice throughout Northern Ireland is in crisis, and many surgeries are struggling to cope due to increasing patient numbers and a shortage of funding.

However, despite concerns over practice closures and doctors facing unmanageable workloads, the manager of Banbridge Group Surgery has stressed that there is no immediate risk to the future of GP services in Banbridge.

Emma McAlister gave the assurance after she and two of the surgery’s GPs, Dr Johnny Dillon and Dr Anne Delargy, spoke out about the current crisis on BBC Radio’s Good Morning Ulster show on Monday morning.

Some of the surgery’s more than 20,000 patients also took part in the programme, which highlighted the serious problems in the field of General Practice.

The Practice Manager revealed that Banbridge Group Surgery deals with more than 1,200 “patient contacts” every day, and a growing list of patients each year.

A statement issued by Banbridge Group Surgery after Monday’s programme said: “General practice in Northern Ireland is reaching crisis point. We have seen a huge increase in workload, with a decreasing workforce and a reduction in funding.

“This is placing intolerable demands on General Practice and their staff, throughout Northern Ireland which is further fuelling a workforce crisis where young doctors choose not to enter general practice, (despite increased training places this year, the posts could not be filled) or are training as GPs then leaving, and more worryingly, experienced GPs are choosing to leave their practices.”

Asked about the impact of the crisis on service provision at Banbridge Group Surgery, Emma McAlister said: “There is no risk to the future of GP services in Banbridge at present.”