Local Ulster Unionist Assembly Candidate and Health spokesperson Jo-Anne Dobson, who took part in a recent hustings event organised by the Royal College of GP’s, has pledged her support for increased finances for our local GP services.
Commenting afterwards Mrs Dobson said: “Patient care will further suffer if our GP services do not receive the support they need. Our family doctors are the gatekeepers of our health service and for some time they have been warning that the vital service which they provide is in crisis.
“During the hustings I pledged my support for an increase in the budget allocation provided to primary healthcare from the current 8%, which is the lowest of any UK region. Our local doctors surgeries are facing many challenges, not least from recruitment, infrastructure and underinvestment and must receive the right level of Government support.
“The fact that almost 400,000 people in Northern Ireland are on a hospital waiting list, with 35,000 waiting over a year to see a consultant, is putting immense pressure on our GP’s as people wait longer for surgery or treatment and they need the constant support of their family doctor throughout their period of pain.
“During my time on the Health Committee I have been critical of the Department of Health’s endless focus on ‘The System’ while leaving the patient to constantly suffer. That’s why change is needed.
“It makes sense to back our local GP’s who provide that much needed local care. In our manifesto we pledge a new working relationship between local GP’s and the Health Trusts with GP’s given the ability to refer patients directly for key diagnostic tests. We also support increasing the number of full time GP’s in Northern Ireland by 400 by 2021.”