The announcement that the ‘Phone First’ system for contacting a GP is to be made permanent has been heavily criticised by Workers Party candidate in Newry and Armagh, Nicola Grant
“I am appalled”, she said “that the Royal College of GPs has taken this decision without either reference to, or seeking the opinions of, the thousands of local GP patients that will be affected by it”
“Our health services are under extreme pressure through lack of investment and there is also significant pressure on our GP services. We all know that from our personal experience, particularly over the last two years”, Nicola said.
“GP services are central to our health and care system; they are at the heart of the community. This is no way to manage that service and shows a serious disregard for the thousands of people who regularly rely on their GP surgery”, Nicola claimed.
“I am calling for an immediate reversal of this dangerous decision and for a period of public consultation – in which everyone’s views can be taken into account – on how best local GP services can be delivered”, she said
“Part of that discussion has to be about ending the private contractor status of GPs and making them NHS employees.”