Workers Party spokesperson Lily Kerr has said that GPs becoming NHS employees, instead of private contractors, would improve the service, reduce waiting times and address many of the problems currently faced in primary care.
‘The College of General Practitioners is calling for more funding, warning about the shortage of GPs and pointing out the age profile of existing GPs. This situation also has a knock on effect for A&E departments – hence the long waits’, Lily said
‘GPs consider themselves to be the solution to many of the current problems and argue that if funding was increased there would be shorter waiting times for appointments and more flexible opening hours.’ she said
‘But these issues were all supposed to be part of ‘Transforming Your Care’ , the plans for re-organising health and care services, yet none of it has happened. And the people Northern Ireland, who have some of the highest levels of deprivation and health inequalities in the UK, are left to suffer, she added.
‘This is not acceptable’, Lily said. ‘There is no reason why some of these solutions cannot be put in place now. A large part of the problem with the shortage of GPs may be because they are not a part of the Health Service, but independent contractors. Many of those seeking a career in General Practice may not be able to buy in to practices. The real issues here should be tackled head on and they should become employees like everyone else in the service’, Lily concluded.