Department and Trust must work to protect Kilkeel GP services

South Down MLA Diane Forsythe has called for the Department of Health to work with the Southern Trust to act swiftly to ensure GP services for people within Kilkeel are protected.

By Diane Forsythe MLA

South Down

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It follows the announcement that the GP Contract at the Kilkeel Primary Care Centre will be handed back.

The DUP MLA said, “This announcement will be very concerning to people in the Kilkeel area, but it has not arisen overnight. The surgery has been facing significant pressures over an extended period of time and this has been the result. There is a real need for planned reform of our Health Service, but announcements such as this are not part of that process.

Uncertainty around GP practices only sees patients moving to other parts of the system and increasing pressures there, including on hospital Emergency Departments.

There are 9,000 patients affected by this announcement and it is important that swift action is taken by the Department of Health and the Southern Trust to identify and appoint new contract holders and ensure that services are maintained and protected within the area.

Whilst there is a need for short-term action in relation to this specific announcement, it follows a pattern across other practices where a shortage of available workforce and other pressures have seen similar issues affecting other practices across Northern Ireland.

I will work with officials wherever possible to find solutions to this issue which will have a real impact on the people in Kilkeel and the surrounding area.”

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