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Volume 406: debated on Thursday 12 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on the pressures general practitioners in Northern Ireland experience in dealing with their workload. [116990]

I am aware of the concerns of general practitioners about increasing workloads. If accepted by the profession, the proposed new General Medical Services Contract will offer GPs the means to better control their work, for example allowing practices to opt out of providing certain services, including out-of-hours care. It will also provide for the development of GP careers and promote the concept of partnership working at practice level and a range of demand management initiatives.