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Joint Statement from Medical Royal Colleges in Northern Ireland

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25 Aug 2017

Medical Royal Colleges in Northern Ireland, representing various medical professionals across the region, have come together to call for urgent action on health and social care reform.

The delay in health transformation is having a huge impact on patients. Following recent announcements of budget cuts for the Health and Social Care Trusts, the Colleges are collectively calling for a strategic approach to healthcare transformation:

"As healthcare professionals, patients' health and wellbeing is our utmost priority. Healthcare reform has been delayed for too long and, as a result, our health and social care system is deteriorating and patient care is suffering.

"In the absence of strategic decision making and planned reform, reactive cuts will be made for the purpose of balancing the books rather than to ensure that the best possible services are being delivered to patients within our given resources.

"The medical Royal Colleges have a pivotal role in patient advocacy throughout the UK; as senior representatives of these Colleges, we are united in our call for urgent action to address the challenges facing the health service in Northern Ireland.

"The issues we are facing are numerous: sustained challenges in general practice; daily pressures in Emergency Departments; challenges in the management and provision of appropriate and dignified care for frail older people; some of the poorest child health outcomes in Western Europe; delays in patient flow in secondary care; some of the longest waiting times in the UK for a range of scheduled procedures and imaging tests; gaps in the physical health care of those with mental illness and intellectual disability; the workforce crises in medicine and resultant reliance on locum staff; nursing shortages, and many other challenges.

"The current situation is unsustainable. In order to improve services and deliver the necessary transformation which is in the best interest of patients, the health budget needs to be spent strategically. We urge politicians to reflect carefully on the current situation and to work together to save our health service.

"On behalf of medical professionals across Northern Ireland, we call on political leaders to hear our concerns and take urgent action to address them."

Signed by:

Dr Cate Scally on behalf of Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh

Dr Bob Darling on behalf of Royal College of Anaesthetists

Dr Karl McKeever on behalf of Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health NI

Dr Grainne Doran on behalf of Royal College of General Practitioners NI

Professor Ken Mills on behalf of Royal College of Pathologists NI

Dr Albert McNeill on behalf of Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh

Dr Michael Trimble on behalf of Royal College of Physicians of London

Dr Gerry Lynch on behalf of Royal College of Psychiatrists NI

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