Department of Health

Read all about our latest meetings and discussions with officials from within the Department of Health.

Further to the meeting on 14 August, the Chair hosted a further meeting on 25 September with Dr Ian McMaster and Rodney Morton of the DoH to discuss the introduction of multi-disciplinary teams, including mental health workers, into primary care.

Drs Michael Doherty, Saleem Tareen and Richard Wilson attended the meeting also and, whilst the College is supportive of the initiative in principle, there are concerns on the impact it might have on secondary care staffing recruitment and retention. Our concerns were acknowledged, as too were several governance issues we raised.

At the previous meeting in August, Drs Lynch, Doherty, McClean and Barton had emphasised that there was a need to establish a realistic balance between primary and secondary care to avoid any adverse consequences after the introduction of the teams.

We hope to widen the discussion with our colleagues in general practice and meet again with the Department in early 2019.

In late June, vice chair Dr Michael Doherty, together with Dr Martin Cunningham, a GP based at Queen’s University, met with CMO Dr Michael McBride to discuss the report published by Universities UK entitled, ‘ Minding our Futures’.

The meeting considered the links between student support and wellbeing services and NHS mental health services. It is hoped that a further meeting will be held in the autumn period.

In July, Dr Lynch held a constructive meeting with Fiona Teague and Dr Denise O’Hagan of the Public Health Agency (PHA) regarding their ‘Protect Life 2' strategy. This suicide prevention strategy was due to enter its consultation stage in respect of the tendering for these new services.

However, Dr Lynch pointed out, “There is a risk that this process will be delayed due to the absence of a Health Minister.”

Later that day, Dr Lynch was briefed by the DoH on the Implementation Programme following the publication of the recent report into Hyponatraemia-Related Deaths.

Dr Lynch reflected that “The application of this report will affect clinical work well beyond the specialties featured within its content, as well as overall culture within the local Health Service.”

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