National Association for Patient Participation

NI One year on from Delivering Together

26 October 2017

One year ago, on 25 October 2016, the then Minister of Health, Michelle O’Neill, launched 'Health and Wellbeing 2026: Delivering Together', an ambitious 10-year strategy to transform health and social care.

We have been calling on the Government to transform how healthcare is delivered and to tackle the numerous challenges facing general practice since the launch of the RCGP’s Put patients first campaign in 2013.

Healthcare reform has been a long time in coming. Over the past several years, numerous reports, including ‘Transforming Your Care’ (2011) and Sir Liam Donaldson’s ‘The Right Time, The Right Place’ (2015), have stressed the need for the way we deliver health and social care to change in order to achieve better outcomes for patients.

Despite the political stalemate, some progress has been made on implementing Delivering Together and the College has been involved with transformation work behind the scenes.

We called for action to be taken to tackle the GP workforce crisis and increase the number of GP training places to be increased from 65 to 111. We are delighted that this will be delivered in 2018.

A workstream has also been established to take forward the development and implementation of multi-disciplinary teams in primary care. The group involved in this project has reviewed existing models of working and examples of best practice and have undertaken research to understand demand and pressures in general practice and nursing services. There is a long way to go – but we hope that this work will help inform the future of how health care is delivered in our communities in the future.

We’ve also welcomed the roll out of Practice Based Pharmacists (PBP). By March 2018, 100% of GP practices should have access to a PBP. Having pharmacists as part of the primary care team has significant potential to help relieve workload pressure on GPs.

However, a lot more still needs to be done.

General practice continues to face significant challenges, including around capacity and premises. We need more GPs and more resources to ensure that all patients receive the high quality, timely care they deserve.

To really make a difference, we need decision makers to implement the recommendations in the GP-led Care Working Group Report and boost investment in general practice. In the absence of necessary action, there will be a delay in real and substantial progress being made.

Why not get involved and tell your local politicians why general practice services are so important to you? You can write to MLAs directly, or get involved on Twitter using #MyGP to share your stories – don’t forget to tag us @rcgp_ni !

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