HEALTH Minister Robin Swann has outlined the measures which have been put in place to provide GP services at Bannview Medical Practice in Portadown.
It follows concerns which were raised in the Ulster Gazette after it was revealed GPs from the Dungannon and Cookstown area are being asked to provide cover for a Portadown practice, while their counterparts appear to be slow to step forward.
Doctors from Mid-Ulster Health Care were asked to provide medical cover at Portadown Health Centre.
Bannview Surgery, run by the Southern Health Trust, has been experiencing GP staffing difficulties for the past few years, which has led Mr Pat Brolly, of the Directorate of Integrated Care for the Health and Social Care Board, to step in and appeal for help from the Cookstown and Dungannon GPs.
The same state-of-the-art Portadown Health Centre houses six other GP practices, with well over 20 doctors and there was a growing frustration that more could be done locally to help this struggling practice.
Mr Swann was asked by Upper Bann MLA, Dolores Kelly, about what was being done to solve the problem.
In a written answer at Stormont, the Health Minister responded: “The Southern Health and Social Care Trust (“the Trust”) and the Health and Social Care Board are working closely to address the current situation in Bannview Medical Practice, to ensure GMS services are maintained and to put longer term arrangements in place to secure the future provision of GP led services in the Practice.
“A number of measures have been put in place which include:
l the provision of two sessions per week of Clinical Lead cover provided by the Trust’s Associate Medical Directors;
l the appointment of a Clinical Lead GP who commenced work on November 4, 2020;
l the appointment of a full time block booked GP who commenced work on November 17, 2020;
l clinical sessions from a number of other GPs including the Federation GP locum pool;
l maximising the use of remote access to facilitate additional GP sessions;
l the redeployment of a Business Manager into the Practice to assist with continuity of care and quality improvement;
l the utilisation of Trust staff to assist with providing GMS services eg flu clinic;
l the employment of prescribing pharmacists in the Practice;
l a recruitment drive for permanent and bank GPs is continuing;
l contingency arrangements are also in place to enable the Practice to avail of other Trust GPs and medical staff if required.”