Doctors concerned by plans to cut GP funding in Northern Ireland

In a letter to assembly members, Dr Brian Dunn, Chair of the BMA Northern Ireland GPs Committee said that ‘The cuts, far from being aimed at reducing administration costs, will have a direct impact on frontline patient services and on resources to pay frontline staff. Practices are being forced to consider cutting staff hours and numbers, and reducing opening times. If the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety makes general practice less able to maintain the present service, we will see increased attendances at emergency departments and outpatients, and increased admissions to hospital — costing many times more than what may be saved in general practice. Thus the “silo” approach by the Health and Social Care Board to identifying these cuts has not taken account of how and where the services will now have to be provided for the patients involved, or the resource consequences of providing the services in the secondary sector. This is a false economy, unless the services to patients are not actually provided.’

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