National Association for Patient Participation

NI Health and social care reform must be a top priority for politicians

18 August 2017

Improving health and social care services in Northern Ireland must be the top priority for all our politicians. This is the message that the Royal College of GPs has been delivering to political parties over the summer months…

There are few things more important to us all that the health and wellbeing of ourselves and our families. Unfortunately, with growing hospital waiting lists and pressures in general practice, the entire healthcare system continues to struggle to meet the needs of the population – and with no political decision makers in place, this is likely to continue indefinitely.

Throughout the summer, RCGPNI has been out-and-about meeting with political representatives from the main parties to make sure health and social care remains their top priority.

With no Health Minister in place to make decisions and no NI Executive to agree budgets, progress on health and social care transformation has been hugely delayed. You do not have to look too far to find the latest story about pressures on general practice services, Out of Hours cover, long waiting times for hospital procedures, postponed operations, and ‘bed blocking’ due to shortages in community care.

The Royal College of GPs has been meeting with health representatives from the political parties to ensure they are aware of the pressures in general practice and community care. RCGPNI Chair, Dr Grainne Doran, has been meeting with political parties to discuss the difficulties in recruiting enough GPs to meet patient demand, increasing workload and number of appointments, the need for additional funding for patient services and the urgent need for action to transform the whole healthcare system.

Throughout July and August, RCGPNI has been pleased to meet with Mark H Durkan (SDLP), Paula Bradshaw (Alliance Party), Pat Sheehan & Paul Maskey (Sinn Fein), Paula Bradley (DUP) and Roy Beggs (UUP). It is critical that whoever will be in the position to make important decisions on health care priorities, whenever the political situation is resolved, is able to take immediate action.

RCGPNI will continue to urge the parties to make general practice & health service reform their top priority and to #PutPatientsFirst

If you want to have your voice heard, write to your local MLAs and tell them about what your GP means to you and why access to services in your community is so important.

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