Primary care 'chaos' in Wales and Northern Ireland

Primary care has been undermined and hospital waits could rise because of NHS reorganisations in Wales and Northern Ireland, GP leaders say.

Dr Brian Dunn
Dr Brian Dunn

Merging Northern Ireland's four health boards into one has ‘decimated' support for primary care, GPC Northern Ireland chairman Dr Brian Dunn said: ‘People with invaluable experience have been retired, and new staffing arrangements are wholly unrealistic.'

The overhaul has also left just ‘0.4 whole-time equivalent staff' to manage revalidation for more than 1,000 GPs in Northern Ireland, Dr Dunn said.

In Wales, the reorganisation of 22 local health boards (LHBs) into seven has left GPC Wales with ‘no confidence that the GMS contract will be run correctly'.

GPC Wales chairman Dr David Bailey said concerns in Northern Ireland mirrored those in Wales. ‘The key issue is that at the very top level there is no-one charged with looking out for primary care.

‘We don't know what the new boards will look like yet and they are supposed to be kicking off in October.'

Dr Dunn warned waiting lists in Northern Ireland may rise because five commissioning groups set up in the reorganisation are unlikely to function ‘in the foreseeable future'.

‘There is effectively no primary care commissioning in Northern Ireland. Waiting lists are going to start going up again,' he warned.

A spokeswoman for the Northern Ireland health department said the changes should eventually strengthen primary care. The Welsh health department did not respond.

Read this week's GP dated 2 October for the full version of this story

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

Viewpoint: Why NICE guidance on domestic abuse needs to be updated

Viewpoint: Why NICE guidance on domestic abuse needs to be updated

Dr Vasumathy Sivarajasingam explains why screening for domestic abuse should be standard...

PCNs opt out of phase 2 of COVID-19 vaccination programme over workload pressure

PCNs opt out of phase 2 of COVID-19 vaccination programme over workload pressure

Some PCNs have opted out of phase 2 of the COVID-19 vaccination programme, with others...

UK COVID-19 vaccination programme tracker

UK COVID-19 vaccination programme tracker

GPs across the UK are playing a leading role in the largest-ever NHS vaccination...

CVT risk from COVID-19 infection 'significantly higher' than from vaccines, study suggests

CVT risk from COVID-19 infection 'significantly higher' than from vaccines, study suggests

The risk of cerebral venous thrombosis (CVT) following COVID-19 infection is eight...

‘Warm and kind’ retired Derbyshire GP dies from COVID-19

‘Warm and kind’ retired Derbyshire GP dies from COVID-19

Retired Derbyshire GP Dr Om Prakash Chawla, who was known for his warmth and kindness,...

GPs can learn from pandemic to strengthen relationship with patients, says RCGP chair

GPs can learn from pandemic to strengthen relationship with patients, says RCGP chair

General practice can build on changes to care during the COVID-19 pandemic to strengthen...