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CONFIRMED: Department of Health set date for closure of local GP practice

Kells and Connor Medical Practice

The Department of Health have confirmed today, Thursday 6 April, that Kells and Connor Medical Practice is set to close this month

The Department will now oversee the dispersal of patients to other local GP practices in the Ballymena area.

In a statement a spokesperson for the Department of Health said:

The GP contractor at Kells and Connor Medical Practice, Ballymena gave notice to the Department of Health that they will be resigning their contract to provide GP services from 30 April 2023. 

Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of all parties involved, a new GP contractor has not been identified to take over the running of Practice.  Regrettably, this means that from 1 May 2023, the medical centre will close.

All alternative options in relation to the continuation of services at Kells and Connor Medical Practice were fully exhausted.

To ensure that the 4000 patients registered at the practice continue to have access to a GP, and to minimise any potential disruption, patients will be allocated to other GP practices within the surrounding areas.

The Department of Health understands that this is not the news that patients of the practice were looking for and that it will cause concern and inconvenience in the local community.

Letters are being issued to all patients currently registered with Kells and Connor practice to advise them of the closure and reassure them that they should continue to contact the practice as normal up until 30 April 2023. 

Patients do not have to take any action; they should remain registered with Kells and Connor practice and not attempt to move to another practice in the area. Further details will be issued to patients over the next weeks advising them of their new GP practice.

The Department acknowledges the ongoing and significant pressures on GP practices, stemming from the fact that demand for their services is outstripping current capacity to provide it.

Notwithstanding budgetary pressures, the Department is committed to building the GP workforce. We have made significant progress in relation to the number of GPs trained each year. The number of GP training places in Northern Ireland has been increased by 70% from 2015 levels in recent years. The review of places is ongoing and the Department will consider recommendations from the review of training places in the future. The Department has also recently streamlined the processes for GPs who qualified in a number of countries to take up roles in Northern Ireland.

In addition, and in recognition of the important role Health and Social Care professionals can play alongside General Practice staff in delivering timely and effective patient care, the Department has supported the Multi-Disciplinary Teams model with an additional £1.5m investment this year and is developing plans for further implementation of the model across Northern Ireland.

In response to requests from GPs, the Department has also taken steps to significantly reduce administrative demands on GP practices.

Pension changes recently announced by the UK Government are aimed at reducing the numbers of doctors retiring early.

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