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Health bosses in Northern Ireland are letting us down, says leading doctor


BMA Northern Ireland council chair Dr John D Woods

BMA Northern Ireland council chair Dr John D Woods

BMA Northern Ireland council chair Dr John D Woods

A leading doctor has today slammed the Department of Health in Northern Ireland for holding "review after review" but making few decisions to improve its service to patients.

Dr John D Woods, the Northern Ireland chairman of the British Medical Association, called for the department to "go back to the drawing board" and build a partnership with doctors instead.

In a keynote speech at the BMA annual conference in Liverpool, Dr Woods said there had been plenty of reviews but a lack of implementation.

He said the department must take the medical profession's "common sense views" on board more in decision-making.

Dr Woods told the delegation of around 600 doctors from across the UK that Northern Ireland faces increasing pressure with cuts to funding, longer waiting lists and underfunded GP practices.

"They need to involve us more often, more effectively," he added.

Doctors have previously raised concerns over a lack of action implementing the new blueprint for the health service Transforming Your Care. It aims to shift the majority of care from the hospital environment to the community or primary care environment.

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In May, new Health Minister Simon Hamilton challenged politicians to accept change as he outlined his vision for the future of local health services. He said the real challenge was a lack of political agreement.

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