Belfast Telegraph

It's a chance to transform whole NHS

By Tom Black

Given that we have been advised of a £160m gap in funding for next year this extra money - which is little more than a 1% increase - will not solve our problems in Northern Ireland.

The chancellor also promises a permanent improvement in GP services paid for by bank fines.

We should use this resource to transform our NHS, which is in its worst crisis in a generation.

We have trusts falling over with excess demand, general practice with a workforce crisis caused by a huge workload increase, and a crisis in health service management where we have to ask the chief medical officer to take on a hospital management role in a schizophrenic double jobbing arrangement.

We should use this resource to transform the integration of health services, using England's Five Year Forward View plan as a template, to increase GP funding and numbers so that work can shift from hospitals to the community. This is the time to make hard strategic choices.

Dr Tom Black is chair of the GPs committee of the British Medical Association NI

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