Commenting on proposals from the Department of Health to develop a day surgery centre at Lagan Valley Hospital and orthopaedic services in Musgrave Park Hospital and Altnagelvin Area Hospital, Dr Tom Black BMA Council chair said,
"As BMA has said many times we urgently need to reshape our health services, we cannot keep doing what we are doing and expect our waiting lists to get shorter. There have been plenty of reviews and recommendations and it is now time to action some of these suggestions.
"These proposals which seek to move planned surgery to Lagan Valley and orthopaedic services to two centres in Belfast and Altnagelvin are a step in the right direction.
"It is vital that in order to retain doctors here and attract new doctors to work in Northern Ireland that services are run in an efficient way, and in a way where doctors are able to use and develop their skills in centres of excellence.
"It is recognised that moving services to distinct, separate sites it means they are less likely to be impacted by emergency cases that would take precedence in terms of theatre time and staffing. And in light of covid there are additional infection control issues that are more easily managed by separating services.
"These proposed changes will impact on patients as well as our members, and we look forward to meeting with the Minister and his officials to discuss this and ensure that doctors are fully consulted on the changes as they come into effect."