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Northern Ireland GPC elects new chair

Northern Ireland GPC elects new chair

The new chair of the BMA’s Northern Ireland GP committee has said she wants to ‘bring more women onto the committee’ and into leadership roles within the union.

Armagh GP partner Dr Frances O’Hagan was elected to succeed Dr Alan Stout, who chaired his last meeting of the committee earlier this month after six years in the role.

Dr O’Hagan, who was Dr Stout’s deputy, is the first woman to hold the role of chair in Northern Ireland. 

She said she was ‘very honoured’ to have been elected and that she takes the responsibility of the role ‘very seriously’.

She also said she hopes that during her time as chair she ‘will be able to bring more women onto the committee’ and ‘into leadership roles in BMA and the LMCs’ so that  ‘we can see a broad range of opinions, views and experiences represented’. 

Dr O’Hagan, who will start in the role today, said: ‘General practice in Northern Ireland remains under pressure, while we have made some gains recently I am very conscious there is still a lot of work to be done to stabilise the service and make sure that it is properly and fully funded.

‘Only by doing that can we reduce the pressure GPs are under and see a service where patients feel their needs are being met.

‘I hope to build on the outstanding work done by the previous chair and take forward plans for a new, better, contract.

‘I want to make general practice a job young doctors want to go into, I want to make it something they are proud to do and a career that is fulfilling and enjoyable.

‘Being the first woman to hold the role is something is an honour, and it’s a significant change. There are now more female GPs than males in Northern Ireland, the demographics are shifting, so it’s important to see that reflected in the GP leadership.’

Dr O’Hagan qualified as a doctor from Queen’s University Belfast in 1989 and has been a GP partner in The Friary Surgery in Armagh since 1997.

She has been the deputy chair of the NI GPC from 2018 and has also been chair of the Southern LMC. 

As reported by Pulse last month, Northern Ireland’s GPs are set to see the full £38.9m worth of QOF funding repurposed for core services and indemnity cover this year.

As the final details of the 2024/25 contract – effective from 1 April – were agreed in May, the BMA’s GP Committee said negotiations had concluded ‘successfully’ but that there was more to be done.



Please note, only GPs are permitted to add comments to articles

Fay Wilson 28 June, 2024 10:48 pm

Congratulations and fantastic news. Hopefully the recent contract changes your team has achieved will be the start of a breakthrough in NI and give hope to GPs in the other nations.