Sheehan welcomes increase in GP numbers
Sinn Féin spokesperson for health Pat Sheehan has welcomed news that the number of GPs working in the North is increasing.
Commenting on findings from the Nuffield Trust, the West Belfast MLA said: "It is good news that the number of GPs is increasing here per head of population particularly given the contrast with the situation elsewhere on these islands.
"As Minister for Health Michelle O'Neill understood the significant pressure facing primary care and increased GP training places in the north to 111 a year in order to build capacity.
"The development and rolling out of GP led multi-disciplinary primary care teams set out by her transformation plan, Delivering Together, will be vital to supporting GPs to deliver services going forward.
"While the increase in GPs is a positive development it does not in itself mean that capacity issues in General Practice have been overcome.
"Fewer GPs are working full time in general practice; there remains a shortage of GPs in many areas-including rural areas in Fermanagh; and not all of the 111 GP training places are being filled.
"The move to more multi-disciplinary team working provides opportunities for GPs to work differently and more effectively going forward.
"Creating the environment where General Practice can provide a work-life balance and the potential for GPs to specialise and gain experience in different clinical areas is important in attracting medical student to General Practice and filling the GP training places that are available."