National Association for Patient Participation

NI GPs call on politicians to put patients first and save our health service

12 January 2018

Early January marks one year since the collapse of our local political institutions. While we have faced over 365 days of no political decision making, our health and social care services continue to struggle under immense strain and pressure.

Faced with incredible pressures and insufficient resources, the frontline staff in our health service to work as hard as they can to provide the best possible services for every patient. But morale is low.

Despite the promises of health care transformation, the political situation has delayed progress. The Department of Health has continued to take forward transformation where they can – the political hiatus has provided extra time for stakeholder and service user engagement to try and make suitable plans for reforming services, but few decisions can be taken without having a Health Minister in post.

This week, GPs in Northern Ireland have called on politicians to 'put patients first' and do the jobs they were elected to do. The Royal College of General Practitioners Northern Ireland claims that the stalemate is having a direct impact on patient care and preventing urgent healthcare improvements.

The Chair of the College in Northern Ireland, Dr Grainne Doran, said: "RCGPNI is calling on politicians to put patients first and show a united front on health and social care reform. We must not let our system deteriorate further… General practice needs urgent support to make sure patients get the services they deserve. Much still needs to be done to address the shortfalls in the GP workforce, tackle increasing levels of workload and improve GP retention.”

In December 2016, a plan was agreed to address the main issues facing general practice so that services could be improved for patients and made sustainable for the future. RCGPNI is working with the Department of Health and other stakeholders to try to take forward the recommendations laid out in this report – but with the collapse of Stormont, the funding required to put all of these recommendations in place has not been allocated. The College continues to push for additional funding and support for GP services.

You can write to your local MLA to tell them about why your GP, and the services provided by your whole GP team, are so important to you.

Follow us on Twitter and get involved in the conversation about our health care system – health and social care reform must be a priority for us all!

RCGPNI Twitter - @rcgp_ni

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