Commenting on the plans announced by the Health Minister Robin Swann today, BMA NI Council chair Dr Tom Black said:
'The Minister is right, we cannot go back to running our services in the way we have been doing. It was not a system that worked for patients or for doctors. There were huge frustrations and pressures for doctors who often felt they were not able to do the best for their patients and who also felt undervalued by the system they worked in.
'COVID-19 turned our service on its head as we had to make sure we were able to cope with the potential impacts of a pandemic. We have seen that the health service can change and can change quickly when it needs to, and we need to capture that energy and target it towards improving, changing and rebuilding our health service.
'Doctors need to be at the centre of this decision making and we would encourage the Minister and Trusts to keep doctors from secondary and primary care involved in the planning as it moves forward.
'As the minister said, there will a long term impact of the pandemic; we need to prepare for a second wave, there will be long term mental health issues for people of all ages, health inequalities will be exacerbated and those who should have sought treatment will have delayed doing so, probably with the best intentions as they didn’t want to overwhelm an already stretched service. Services need to be restarted, funded and re-shaped to address these additional issues.'
Notes to editors
The BMA is a trade union representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.
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