On Air Manx Radio Breakfast Chris Williams & Sian Cowper | 7:30am - 9:30am

Patient to GP ratio will increase with population growth, says minister

Questions over how health will cope with additional demand

The health minister says the number of patients to GPs on the Island will increase, if plans to grow the population to 100,000 are fulfilled.

Douglas North MHK David Ashford has quizzed Lawrie Hooper over the plans to reach that number by 2037 in the House of Keys.

Minister Hooper says work to assess the need for additional GP and hospital services is yet to start.

'The transformation programme is designed to radically alter the way primary care is delivered - hopefully reducing the pressures on individual GPs.' - Minister Hooper.

And while the current ratio of GPs to patients has been labelled 'unsustainable' in the past, he says that work will be focused elsewhere:

GP services currently support around 83,500 people on the Isle of Man. 

Mr Ashford also put the same question to the health minister regarding capacity at Noble's Hospital, citing pressures on the Emergency Department now as a reason to 'start sooner rather than later' on improvements.

'Services need to grow in tandem.' - David Ashford.

Minister Hooper said he agrees, adding that Covid-19 has seen greater pressures on A&E currently that would normally be expected:

David Ashford referenced Sir Jonathan Michael's 2019 report, in which predictions were made as to changes which would be needed for the health system to manage with a population of circa 100,000.

Health Minister Hooper urged caution when referring to those estimations, saying the report needs 'updating and refining' in view of government's economic strategy.

More from Isle of Man News