Northern Ireland GPs set to agree federations model

GPs in Northern Ireland could join regional practice federations by April and are close to a deal to take back a lead role in out-of-hours primary care.

Dr Tom Black: GP federations plan
Dr Tom Black: GP federations plan

LMC representatives will meet next week to decide which which model should be taken forward following pilots in three areas.

GPs from Belfast, Derry and North Down will report on their pilot federations before LMC representatives and GPC Northern Ireland agree a single template.

GPC Northern Ireland chairman Dr Tom Black said federations were necessary to manage the government’s Transforming Your Care programme of shifting work from secondary to primary care, and could become primary care provider organisations.

‘We think local federations will be able to manage the shift left and make sure it is always planned, agreed and resourced,' he said.

‘But also bring practices together with common working in terms of primary care provision. We feel, actually, if this is going to work, we are going to have to have a primary care provider system within general practice, that’s going to have to be overarching to take in all the practices.’

GPs are divided over how federations should work, with some favouring informal arrangements for commissioning, others preferring federations with legal, primary care commissioning, and provision responsibilities.

But Dr Black said he was confident LMC representatives would agree a single template to take forward.

Meanwhile, plans have been drawn up for Northern Irish GPs to take control of out-of-hours provision.

Dr Black said GPC Northern Ireland had reached agreement with the Health and Social Care Board on a framework for out-of-hours provision.

While the board had agreed to GPC Northern Ireland’s wish that GPs should take control of services, Dr Black said proposals to increase funding were not radical enough. The service, he added,  was ‘in trouble’ and needed to be controlled by GPs.

Concerns were raised over recruitment and retention problems during the summer, with out-of-hours sessions left unfilled.

LMCs in Northern Ireland voted in May to take back control ‘of the organisation and commissioning of the delivery’ of GP out-of-hours care.

Dr Black said: ‘We need to develop more economy and flexibility for out-of-hours organisations, and we feel they should be GP organisations, so we feel, again, that should be through the primary care provider model.’

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

Vaccination tracker

UK COVID-19 vaccination programme tracker

GPs across the UK have led the largest-ever NHS vaccination programme in response...

RCGP chair Professor Martin Marshall

Hand PCNs control of primary care infrastructure funding, says RCGP

CCG funding for primary care infrastructure should be handed to PCNs when the bodies...

Professor Martin Marshall and Talking General Practice logo

Podcast: RCGP chair Professor Martin Marshall

Talking General Practice speaks to RCGP chair Professor Martin Marshall.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul

In-house review not enough to stop 'unjust' GMC referrals, warns BMA

Doctors' leaders have repeated calls for a full independent review of the GMC referral...

Coronavirus

How widespread is long COVID in the UK?

Millions of people in the UK are living with long COVID. GPonline looks at the data...

COVID-19 vaccination sign

GP contract for autumn COVID-19 booster campaign due shortly

GP practices in England will be invited shortly to sign up for the COVID-19 autumn...