Health care should be next government's 'top priority', poll suggests
HEALTH care should be top priority for the next government in Northern Ireland, a survey for a doctors' group has found.
The Royal College of General Practitioners Northern Ireland (RCGPNI) said 82 per cent of people polled are worried political instability in the north will delay essential healthcare reform.
It called for 11 per cent of the health budget to be devoted to general practice and the full implementation of recommendations to "stabilise" the service.
According to a recent YouGov poll, most people who used GP services said there was a need for more GPs. It also found people placed healthcare as top priority for the new government, with almost twice as many people prioritising it over the economy
RCGPNI has been calling on the government to take immediate action to address the current crisis facing general practice, including convening an emergency summit after the election.
Dr Grainne Doran from the RCGPNI said "we need to see urgent action to address primary care pressures".
"Until we have a fully functioning government in place, health and social care reform will continue to be put on hold," she said.
"In the meantime, general practice services continue to deteriorate and if urgent action is not taken, patient care will suffer.
"Health and social care - including investing in general practice - must be the top priority for political parties. Our poll results have shown that it is certainly the top priority for the population - with almost twice as many people saying health should be the top priority for the government, compared to the economy. The wishes and needs of patients must be heard."