National Association for Patient Participation

RCGPNI Exhibit at NICON 2018

01 May 2018

On 18 and 18 April, we attended Northern Ireland’s biggest health and social care event of the year - the annual NI NHS Confederation (NICON) conference. The event was attended by senior civil servants, medical professionals, politicians and health sector organisations – all keen to work better together to improve our healthcare system and patient care.

This year, ‘Delivering Together’ was conference’s theme. As we all know, our health and social care system is under strain and we used the opportunity to discuss how we can transform the way we work. 

General practice is a vital part of delivering better health care services for patients. However, if we don’t strengthen general practice and ensure that we have enough GPs to provide the care and support patients need, we will not be able to fix our broken system.

During the conference, speeches and presentations were delivered by Department of Health officials including the Permanent Secretary, the Chief Medical Officer and the Chief Nursing Officer. On Tuesday afternoon, representatives of the Transformation Implementation Group (TIG) - the main decision makers for transforming Health & Social Care (HSC) - participated in a Question & Answer session to explore progress to date, financial challenges and political obstacles to change.

Several workshop sessions were held on each day, providing an opportunity for more in-depth discussion on important health and social care areas.

The Chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners in Northern Ireland, Dr Grainne Doran, was involved in one of these sessions. During the workshop, we discussed what progress has been made around new ways of working in general practice and how healthcare teams can work better to provide patients with the care they need, in the right place, at the right time.

The two days were an excellent opportunity to showcase some of the work that RCGPNI has been leading on to improve patient care, including the promotion of general practice as a career, influencing the government’s strategic policy and representing the GP voice in the media. We also highlighted the work we have been doing to help improve communication between healthcare professionals in hospitals and in the community and show how working better together can benefit patients. 

General practice is the foundation of our healthcare service. Over the next few months, we will continue to ensure that the voices of patients and GPs are heard loud and clear by decision makers.


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