Northern Ireland news

GPs being offered £1,000 a day to work at crisis hit Co Tyrone surgery

GPs are being offered more than double the daily rate of pay to fill in at a rural Co Tyrone GP practice facing a staffing 'crisis'.
Staff Reporter

GPs are being offered £1,000 a day to work at a rural Co Tyrone practice struggling to find a replacement for an outgoing doctor.

The Dromore and Trillick Practice has more than 5,500 patients registered, but has been unable to recruit a replacement for Dr Declan Morgan, who has resigned and is working a notice period until this Thursday.

Yesterday the Department of Health announced the Western Health Trust was to take over responsibilities for the rural practice "to secure ongoing locum GP cover".

Read More: Data showing reduction in practices outlines 'pressure' faced by GPs, BMA chair warns 

The Irish News has seen an email from the Department to GPs offering a rate of £1,000 per day if they can provide cover for two daily sessions on dates from July 1 to August 31.

That is more than double the standard rate of £440 per day.

The "looming crisis" of the large rural area being without GP cover was discussed earlier this month at a meeting of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, where the intervention from the Department of Health was requested.

Following yesterday's intervention, Sinn Féin councillor Stephen McCann told the Irish News that the Western trust taking on the surgery was "a very welcome development".

"This will give some long-awaited reassurance to many people that their primary GP care will continue, after a period of uncertainty," he said.

"It will create the space for the Department of Health to find a long-lasting, permanent solution to this crisis."

Mr McCann said the hiring of new GPs to fill in would prevent a "domino effect" of pressure on the health service.

"The closure of the practise would be catastrophic for local people and GP cover in the wider area," he added.

"A lot of money is being offered, but what price can we put on securing GP care for so many people who need it?"

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