Rural doctors ‘will not benefit from £27m extra health

GP SERVICES are set to benefit from a £26.76 million investment but there are doubts over whether Fermanagh will benefit from the funding.
Recently, the Department of Health announced the investment of £26.76 million which has been earmarked for investment in GP premises, elective care services and investment in advanced nurse practitioners. 
At a time where GPs in Fermanagh are stretched to their limit, and a new health centre is required in Lisnaskea, investment into GP services are welcome but Cllr Donal O’Cofaigh believes the funding will not go towards services in Fermanagh. Unfortunately, this additional funding is likely to go to increasingly centralised GP provision with little finding its way to the rural areas of Fermanagh and Omagh which need it most. 
“To resolve our GP crisis we will need to see a move to the direct contracting of family doctors by the NHS, as well as proper funding for workforce development and their increased supply, attraction and retention. 
“Ease of access to GPs is a critical success factor for any Public Health Service; if you can see a doctor easily and quickly then you tend to see them at an earlier stage when treatments are both more effective and cheaper.” 
Mr O’Cofaigh believes Fermanagh is the ‘area experiencing the worst GP crisis in the entire UK.’
“With the BMA forecasting the number of GPs here will fall from 18 to five. The impact if such a calamitous fall will be severe. 
“Already communities such as those in Roslea and Magheraveely have been left without a GP – a situation only further exacerbated by our poor public transport provision,” he added.
Responding to the announcement, Dr Alan Stout, chairman of the General Practitioners Committee in the North said, “The transformation money that has already been invested is beginning to make a difference for GPs, helping to ease their workload and allowing frontline services to patients to be met by a broader range of health professionals who are best suited to addressing a patient’s needs.” 

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