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At the heart of general practice since 1960

39. Dr Tom Black

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Faced with what he says is the worst recruitment crisis and the heaviest workload the profession has experienced in 50 years, Northern Ireland GPC chair Dr Black has fought hard for Government support.

His recent General Practice in Crisis survey revealed around 85% of Northern Irish practices ‘are struggling’. And even though the Northern Ireland Executive has announced a £7m increase in GP contractual funding, Dr Black is not stopping there. GP practices are being supported to set up 17 GP federations and appoint funded pharmacists to every practice.

New AskMyGP appointment triage pilots have begun and a chamber of retired GPs will help with workforce shortages.

He tells Pulse he is expecting a big review of the health service which will follow England’s introduction of care accountable care organisations (ACOs). ‘We will use federations to support the ACOs and get more resource for general practice,’ he says.  

Although he says he is working harder as he gets older, what he enjoys most about the job is ‘fixing problems so that GPs can do the job they signed up to do’ as well as ‘saying no to bureaucrats when they’ve been sent to do something stupid that everyone knows is wrong.’

Why influential: Chief negotiator for Northern Irish GPs

Surprising fact: Makes ‘the best raspberry jam’ from his garden

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