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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Weir (Local Democracy Reporter)

“Good progress” on GP contractor appointment

Larne Medical Practice

Health Minister Robin Swann has confirmed that “good progress” is being made in relation to appointing a new contractor for Larne Medical Practice at Gloucester Avenue in the town.

In a letter to East Antrim DUP MLA Gordon Lyons, Mr Swann reported that “over the last number of months, the Strategic Planning and Performance Group (SPPG) within the Department of Health has been exploring every viable option in an attempt to secure new contractors for Larne Medical Practice”.

“We are making good progress and will continue to work to ensure the new contract is in place for 1 May 2024”, the letter said. “As always, it is their priority to ensure there is service continuity for all registered patients.”

In November, the GP partners of Larne Medical Practice confirmed they had handed back their contract to deliver GP services to the Department of Health from April 30, 2024.

In a statement on their practice website, they said at the time:

“This is a decision that has been taken with careful consideration and much regret. We, the partners and our staff, have been planning and working towards the practice merger since last year.

“Given that one of the objectives of the merger was to stabilise medical services in Larne Health Centre, we are devastated that due to a lack of adequate medical cover, we cannot provide a safe sustainable service.

“We will continue to seek extra medical cover however, locum/employed GPs only perform a fraction of the work undertaken by a GP partner. This leaves the remaining GP partners with a further increase in workload that is unsustainable and ultimately unsafe for patients.

“The Department of Health will now begin the process of advertising for and recruiting a new GP contractor. Whilst the practice cannot be directly involved in this process, we will endeavour to work with any new contract holder to ensure medical services continue for our staff and patients.

“We want to reassure our patients that we will continue to deliver GP services as normal until the contract is handed back. Patients do not need to do anything and should continue to contact the practice as normal.”


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