Northern Ireland General practitioner

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BMA urges progress on healthcare reforms

Doctors leaders say proposed changes to the way healthcare is delivered in Northern Ireland must be pushed through.

BMA Northern Ireland also said it was essential that more resources were moved into primary care to allow the changes planned under the healthcare shake-up Transforming Your Care to happen.

BMA Northern Ireland GPs committee chair Tom Black made the comments after it emerged that the number of people waiting longer than nine weeks for first outpatient appointments at the end of June was up by 4,000, compared with the end of March.

But Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety statistics show that the number of patients waiting longer than 21 weeks fell slightly.

Dr Black said: ‘Our waiting times are still too long. We need to rationalise the provision within secondary care, implement Transforming Your Care, and shift resources. There are great opportunities within Transforming Your Care to streamline services for patients in Northern Ireland.’

But he added that implementing the policy properly would require resources for staff, premises and training within primary care.