SINN Féin MLA, Liz Kimmins said that the Department of Health must act urgently to address the crisis in GP services in NMD District and across the north.
Speaking after launching the findings of his access to GP services survey, the Newry and Armagh MLA said:
“GP shortages are being felt in GP surgeries all over the north – that was clearly reflected in the responses to Sinn Féin’s access to GP services survey.
“Too many patients are not getting the care they need and some people phoning their local GP surgery are not getting through due to pressures on GP surgeries.
“The lack of nurses in practices, mental health professionals and physiotherapists for example, is having a detrimental impact on GPs’ ability to properly support patients.
“The Department of Health needs more staff to meet the needs of patients in the community.
“Sinn Féin is calling on the Department of Health to accelerate plans to put more mental health professionals, nurses and physiotherapists in GP Practices.
“We are also calling on the Department of Health to recruit and train additional vaccinators to work alongside GPs to alleviate the additional pressures currently being felt in GP surgeries.”
The survey was carried out to hear the views of people in the community whose health and welbeing, and that of their families, relies upon access to GP appointments.
Respondents raised a number of key issues including the inability to even make telephone contact with their GP Surgery within a reasonable time.
GP surgery opening hours also came under the spotlight with the majority of respondents stating that the current opening hours posed a significant barrier to their ability to accessing GP services they needed.