GP services in Northern Ireland are to benefit from an £8.8m cash injection this year, it has been announced.
Over half the money (£4.54m) – being invested by the Department of Health – is to be used for the practice-based pharmacist scheme, where pharmacists work alongside GPs.
By the end of the year, close to 200 pharmacists are expected to be working across practices in Province, in a bid to free up GP time.
In addition, £1.8m will be used to address demographic pressures on practices, such as rising populations and more people with long term conditions who need care.
A further £1m of the funding pot has been allocated to address the rising costs of medical indemnity cover, while the department has also identified £1.5m to improve and expand practice premises.
This £8.8m investment is in addition to the £15m package announced last month, which aimed to enhance primary care.
It brings this year’s total investment in GPs and related services to nearly £22m, the largest funding allocation for General Practice in NI since 2004.
And it builds on £9.7m investment made in GP services in 2017/18, which was itself the largest investment in recent years.