Banbridge residents are being urged to sign a petition calling for action on what the British Medical Association in Northern Ireland has described as an ‘escalating crisis in General Practice here’.
The petition is available to sign in GP surgeries across the country and comes just over a month after the release of a BMA report which starkly illustrates the pressure GPs are currently under caused by issues such as growing patient list sizes, serious staffing gaps, growing paper work and bureaucracy.
Supporting the call, local MLA and member of the Stormont Health Committee Jo-Anne Dobson said: “Earlier this year I described the findings of the BMAs survey into General Practice as a ‘wake up call’ for the Stormont Executive and I encourage people to sign this important petition.
“The findings showed that almost three quarters of practices were struggling and this is often clear when people seek an appointment with their Doctor.
“General Practice is the gateway to our health service and when it is experiencing this level of continued pressures and difficulties delays occur across the entire system.
“While I continue to support the BMA in raising this issue the onus is now firmly on the Minister to respond and to give us the concrete measures which she plans to take to help solve this crisis rather than allow the system to continue to spin out of the control.
“Many challenges lie ahead, but the Minister simply cannot afford to adopt a ‘do nothing’ approach as this is a situation which will not resolve itself.
“Failure to act quickly could result in people coming to harm - a situation which must be avoided.”
Meanwhile Banbridge Group surgery is also encouraging people to sign the petition.
Citing many of the concerns found in the BMA’s report, Practice Manager, Nicola Cummings said: “We have received the BMA poster and petition. Copies of the petition are available at reception and we would encourage as many patients as possible to sign it.”
The petition campaign will run throughout August and will then be presented to the Assembly in September.