24 March 2016

RCGPNI Response to NI Health Minister Announcement on Plans to Restructure Health and Social Care

Dr John O’Kelly, Chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners NI, said: “Any attempt to streamline and reduce complexity within the health and social care system to improve care for patients is to be welcomed.

“Unfortunately the changes which the Minister for Health has announced today have introduced a further element of uncertainty for general practice.

“Primary Care must be central if we are to successfully reform the commissioning and planning process, so it is vital that GPs and others working in the primary care sector are suitably involved in any decision making at a local level. But what our involvement will be has so far not been clarified.

“RCGP NI has been highlighting the crisis facing general practice and  has been actively involved in the GP-led Working Group, ensuring that the issues of family doctors in Northern Ireland are fully represented.

“We strongly believe that a stand alone organisation, is better placed to link these individual groups together and independently assess need and allocate resources.

“It is important that whoever allocates resources is able to ensure value for money, demand quality and are empowered to hold providers to account for this public expenditure.

“RCGP NI remains committed to working with the government. General practice needs to be reassured that further and significant investment in workforce and infrastructure will be provided to ensure that we can continue to provide a fit-for-purpose health care service for our patients. Family doctors in Northern Ireland must be given the necessary tools to do their job.”

Further Information

If you would like any further information, please contact Clare Higgins on T: 020 3188 7726  E: clare.higgins@rcgp.org.uk


The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 50,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards. RCGP NI represent over 1300 members in Northern Ireland.