Review to push more ‘specialist’ GPs
The review team led by John Compton looks set to propose an overhaul of the way patients are treated — with much more care delivered in the community.
Mr Compton said the review panel is considering reducing the annual hospital budget by over £23m and this money would be used to fund more primary care.
One scheme being looked at would mean more specialist GPs working in Northern Ireland.
Family doctors could refer patients to the local specialist GP instead of a consultant which would cut waiting times for hospital appointments.
Mr Compton explained: “We have looked at the work of Dr Ian Rutter and how he does things that are really quite impressive.
“For example, you might have a GP who wants to refer their patient to a cardiologist so they would refer them to the GP in the area that specialises in cardiology.
“The specialist GP would then decide what needs to happen next. They would be able to book the |patient in for diagnostic tests at hospital there, and then meaning the patient wouldn’t have to wait to see a consultant first.”
The proposed changes have been welcomed by family doctors.
Dr Tom Black, chair of the British Medical Association’s GP committee in Northern Ireland, said: “GPs are very keen to be allowed to do more and make use of their skills.
“We would be able to carry out minor surgery on our patients, such as mole removal, instead of them having to go into hospital.”