GPs in Northern Ireland are highlighting their crucial role and stressing the importance of integrated care as politicians visit their practices.
County Down GP David Ross welcomed Northern Ireland health, social services and public safety minister Edwin Poots to his practice last week.
It is one of a number of visits by Northern Ireland politicians to GP practices, organised by the BMA to highlight the work GPs provide in their local communities.
Dr Ross, a BMA Northern Ireland GPs committee member, explained the importance of integrated care.
He said: ‘Healthcare in the community works best when health professionals can work together. This can be as simple as being able to have a face-to-face conversation with a district nurse or social worker.
‘This means decisions can be made quickly and the patient receives the best possible care when they need it most.’
Care in the community
Northern Ireland healthcare reform plans, known as the TYC (Transforming Your Care) programme, have integrated care at their heart, with more care provided in the community rather than hospitals.
Dr Ross added: ‘It is vital that for TYC to be successful, appropriate funding must be provided to allow practices to provide the best services for their local communities.’
Mr Poots said the role of general practice had changed considerably over the past few years and would play an essential part in TYC.
He said: ‘The TYC model of integrated care is designed with the individual at the centre with services built around them. The system will join together a full range of services to deliver care closer to home where appropriate, which will reduce unnecessary hospital admissions.
'The team at this practice is an excellent example of the advantages to be gained from close integrated working between GPs and community services.’
GPs who are happy to have MLAs visit them in their surgeries should contact Ruth Fitzsimons.