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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

Minister Swann praises contribution of GPs to COVID-19 response

Health Minister Robin Swann has praised the important role played by General Practice in the battle to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Minister was speaking at the British Medical Associations’ Local Medical Committee Conference where he told delegates that GPs and their practice teams had been key to the response to the pandemic.

He specifically commended the key role of General Practice in the successful delivery of the vaccination programme and the work undertaken in establishing Primary Care Covid-19 Centres, which he said had protected our health and social care system from being overwhelmed.

The Minister also recognised the continued roll out of the Primary Care Multi-Disciplinary Team Programme, “which has seen over 600,000 of our citizens now have access to physiotherapy, social work or mental health services in their local GP practice.

“The MDT Programme Teams in the Health and Social Care Board and the Department are currently taking forward a process to develop a ‘road map’ for the full roll-out of the model across all GP Federation areas."

In the course of his address Minister Swann noted the increased pressures facing General Practice with a rise in patient contacts from an estimated 12.7million in 2014 to almost 15 million in 2019.

He also stressed that GP practices continue to be available for patients, providing both face to face appointments and alternative consultation options as appropriate.

The Minister reiterated the need to encourage even more medical students to choose a career in General Practice.

He said: “In recognition of the increasing demand for primary care services, my Department has already increased the number of GP trainees by over 70% from 2015 levels. Work has also recently commenced on a review of GP trainee places, to make sure there are enough GPs to meet our primary care needs into the future.”

In closing, the Minister extended his personal thanks to GPs and their teams for their diligence and professionalism which he said: “had seen them at the frontline of the fight against Covid and would place them at the heart of our rebuilding and restructuring of Health and Social Care services into the future.”


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