Mrs Erskine said the publication of this data would allow for the identification of best practice models and would highlight the pressures that GPs are facing.
Mrs Erskine said,
“On average there are 230,000 patient contacts each week across our 329 surgeries in Northern Ireland.
Whilst the Health and Social Care Board gets a weekly return from each surgery detailing the number of patient contacts, it would be beneficial for this data to be made public.
GPs undertake fantastic work. The publication of this data would allow us to see best practice models and also highlight the pressures on a reducing number of GPs.
The Department of Health must provide additional resources to those surgeries under pressure. We cannot have a postcode lottery when it comes to accessing General Practice services.
One of the outworkings from the NHS response to the covid-19 pandemic has been greater transparency around hospital admissions, pressures on Intensive Care Units, bed vacancies as well as the number of cases and vaccinations on a daily basis. It is all accessible online.
This has allowed for the identification of those sections of our healthcare system that are under pressure and helped to educate the public around how best to ease pressures.
Greater access to data helps demonstrate the strains upon our frontline staff and helps the public with understanding.
Patients need better access to GPs and GPs need better support from the Department in coping with these pressures.
Having written to the Minister to urge him to publish this data, I wish to thank the Health Committee for unanimously agreeing to my proposal, so we can all work together to deliver long-term solutions.”