GPs in Northern Ireland back federating practices

GP leaders in Northern Ireland have published a 10-year strategy paper setting out how general practice can evolve while keeping its core values intact.

The joint RCGP and GPC document sets out a list of general practice 'core values', assesses the profession's strengths and weaknesses and evaluates threats.

The core values list highlights a desire to embrace change while maintaining traditional features of general practice.

Providing continuity of care and acting as a gatekeeper to an NHS free at the point of delivery feature alongside more modern concepts, such as embracing federation of practices and commissioning. Key threats identified include competition and bureaucracy.

GPC Northern Ireland hopes The Future of General Practice in Northern Ireland document, published last week, will put GPs in the driving seat as NHS reform takes place over the next decade.

GPC Northern Ireland chairman Dr Brian Dunn said: 'We were tired of saying "no" to things. Most initiatives to do with changing general practice come from government, this aims to empower practices.'

An action plan lists key areas of work for the RCGP and GPC in Northern Ireland.

They will draw up a 'model practice framework' setting out 'critical success factors' for GP practices and 'federation toolkits' to help practices link up.

Communication with patients will be expanded, the document adds, as well as work to develop GPs' commissioning role.

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