We must not become complacent with abysmal waiting lists, says RCGPNI

Publication date: 10 July 2019

Responding to the findings in the Nuffield Trust 'Change or collapse' report, RCGPNI Chair Dr Grainne Doran said:

"Radically transforming our health and social care system was never going to be easy, but it is essential. We all have a part to play – including political leaders, clinicians, service managers, civil servants and patients – and we must work together to address the inherent challenges facing Health & Social Care.

"There is little to be proud of when we reflect on our abysmal patient waiting times. While attempts have been made to address these in recent years, there have only been pockets of success. We simply cannot become complacent and accept that it is the norm to wait for years, in some specialties, for elective care appointments with a consultant.

"Sufficient workforce numbers continue to be a huge challenge and recruitment of clinical and non-clinical staff across Health & Social Care is difficult at current levels. General practice services are under immense strain and waiting times only exacerbate the problem, as patients seek support and care from their only accessible healthcare professional – their GP. Despite the launch of the HSC Workforce Strategy last year, there is still no comprehensive plan to increase the number of GPs to ensure future sustainability of services.

"Positive steps forward have certainly been made in supporting patients and GP workload through the introduction of the new multidisciplinary team model, embedded in general practice. However, it essential that this model is fully funded and rolled out across the entire region as soon as possible to ensure equitable services for patients, and equitable support for GP practices.

"Genuine action must be taken to future-proof our health service and to address the serious issues we are currently facing."

Further Information

Clare Higgins
07341 737 033
clare.higgins@rcgp.org.uk 

Notes to editor

The Royal College of General Practitioners is the largest membership organisation in the United Kingdom solely for GPs. It aims to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and to act as the 'voice' of GPs on issues concerned with education; training; research; and clinical standards. Founded in 1952, the RCGP has just over 50,000 members who are committed to improving patient care, developing their own skills and promoting general practice as a discipline. RCGP NI represent over 1300 members in Northern Ireland.

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