GPs to get £2.27m to offer extra appointments after Christmas holidays
GP services are to be given a £2.27 million winter payment to allow surgeries to stay open for longer in the new year.
Practices will offer same day urgent appointments and remain open at lunch time following the Christmas and new year holidays.
The investment also means there will be no half day closures.
January is traditionally the busiest time of the year for GPs.
Dr Margaret O'Brien, head of General Medical Services in the Health and Social Care Board, said a majority of GP practices had committed to supporting the winter initiative.
She said it will enable more people to get urgent appointments and help reduce pressure on other parts of the health service.
She said £2.1m had also been invested by the Department of Health in a Pharmacy First service.
This service will enable patients to have a private consultation with their community pharmacist to receive advice and treatment for sore throats, colds and flu.
Meanwhile, as part of the Stay Well This Winter campaign, people are being encouraged to look after themselves and use services appropriately.
More information can be found at www.nidirect.gov.uk/campaigns/stay-well