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GPs go forth

GPs fear Northern Ireland budget imposition

Plans for the UK Government to impose a budget on Northern Ireland after the latest power-sharing talks broke down is the ‘worst of all worlds’ for general practice, according to the countries leading GP.

Dr Tom Black told Pulse that having the budget signed off but with no direct rule meant there would be no one to solve the severe problems facing the NHS.

‘If we thought things were bad they just got a lot worse,’ he said.

‘We have no assembly and now we have a budget being passed without resorting to direct rule.

‘We have primary and secondary care in crisis but none of the responsible politicians in Belfast or London feel that they're actually responsible to the extent that they might actually do a days work on fixing the problems.’

Northern Ireland secretary James Brokenshire said he would take steps to introduce a budget bill to Parliament because public services were running out of resources.

There has been a 10-month deadlock that has left civil servants in charge but unable to make key policy decisions.

While Dr Black said he would prefer a local politician, in the absence of an assembly, Westminster needed to step in and start making strategic decisions.

‘The body politic of Northern Ireland is a disgrace and the government in London need to step up and assume their responsibilities.

‘I need a politician from somewhere to take strategic decisions.

‘There appears to be no hope of implementing the GP rescue plan or starting the transformation of the health service that's needed.’

A rescue plan for general practice was signed off by ministers in December 2016 but the collapse of the power sharing government has meant no further action.

The BMA is still collecting undated resignations from practices after the profession voted unanimously to walk away from the NHS.



Readers' comments (9)

  • Never been a better opportunity for GPs in NI to commence collecting the funding for the medical care they provide?

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  • Stop being so negative.
    You need to cease seeing patients, get involved with the RCGP, enjoy long lunches and longer pointless meetings in London and tell everyone how wonderful it all is.
    I can see it now, all the med students at Queen's must be fighting to get onto GP training…..

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  • So, there's been no 'government executive' in NI for nearly a year. You are now the 'practical executive'for the services you are socially and politically responsible for delivering.
    So 'Carpe Diem'and make your own 'executive' decision.
    If it's any help:
    1. a few miles from you, across the border, pt's only see their GP abut twice a year and have the same QALYs/life prognosis.
    2. Pt's pay about £400 pa for the pet insurance.
    3. Lots more of common sense even if not supported with USA style 'evidence based medicine' (EBM). from USA medical insurance companies.
    Were all watching you with anticipation but trepidation.
    It's fallen to you guys to resolve the likely collapse of quality primary care.

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  • Cobblers

    The headless chicken scenario.

    Somebody (else) must DO something!

    Well that decision is yours Dr Black. Yours and the other GPs who wish to change things.

    Politicians have manifestly failed.

    As DecorumEst says 'Carpe Diem'. Think the unthinkable. Charge for access. Charge monthly fees. Sort out a business case which should be there had you been planning.

    Look up Reggler's Guernsey option if not.

    Be the vanguard. Veni vidi vici! Charge!!

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  • As a Northern Ireland practice, we submitted our resignation letter to the bma 6 months ago, sadly not enough if our colleagues have had the faith in our medical leaders to follow suit hence we are now in limbo
    Come on other practices and take a leap of faith cause this eternal inertia is killing primary care here otherwise we are all doomed together.....

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  • Similarly minded Practices need to get together and depart the NHS. The BMA will not help with this as the BMA hierarchy are committed to preserving the NHS unchanged, whatever the consequences for the members.

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  • Cobblers

    Coal Face gp. Are you at tipping point? Difficult to judge, I know, but if the dominoes are all lined up it takes but one practice to call it.

    Are you that practice?

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  • Country's gp

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  • We are one of the surviving Fermanagh practices (for now), for example, the First Minister's own GP practice is one that has closed, this inaction shows how much contempt our politicians show to local primary care, they COULD NOT CARE LESS,secondary care has got all the investment here over the past 15 years and frankly Mrs Foster's ex GP's premises were not fit for purpose 20 years ago, never mind now, her GP and his neighbouring practice in that building begged for help for years from the politicians, the health board, the western trust and got NOTHING! all the money had been spent on a brand new (unnecessary) hospital under PFI rules leaving no money for any investment in local primary care, general practice doesn't even enter the politicians' heads as they are too preoccupied with tribal 17th century politics. one side with their dogmatic fetish of forcing the Irish language on an almost universal English speaking populace and the other side trying to maintain a calvinist theocracy here for everybody irrespective of their own personal beliefs, reality of our demise is blissfully ignored by all in authority and yet the GP workforce struggle to provide as good a service as they can under impossible conditions, heaven help us here!

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