Ahead of the Stormont election on 5 May 2022, the three UK Royal Colleges of Physicians have come together to launch an action plan for the next Northern Ireland executive.
Together, the colleges are calling for:
- an updated NHS workforce plan for Northern Ireland, focused on recruitment and retention
- a cross-government plan to tackle ill health and inequalities
- a pandemic recovery plan that tackles growing waiting lists and diagnostic delays.
Reflecting the urgency of these shared priorities, the three UK Royal Colleges of Physicians have taken a collaborative approach as they urge the next Northern Ireland executive to deliver a multi-year budget for the health and care service while prioritising the wellbeing of the health and social care workforce and taking a strategic approach to workforce planning and data collection. They are also calling on the next health minister to expand the number of medical students in Northern Ireland and recruit specialty and overseas doctors to reduce rota gaps. Other recommendations include:
- introduce integrated care systems as soon as possible
- implement existing plans and strategies
- prioritise digital technology and regional working
- develop high quality patient-reported performance measures
- invest in specialist, clinically led multidisciplinary weight management services.