Cuban health check system risks patient harm
5 February 2013
GPs will be unable to treat sick people if plans to make everyone across Northern Ireland undergo annual health checks go ahead, doctors leaders have warned.
BMA Northern Ireland has accused the Stormont health, social services and public safety committee of ignoring advice the association provided in a briefing that such a move would harm patients.
Following a debate on the subject at Stormont this week, MLAs voted unanimously in favour of the proposal, which GPs say could cripple the health service in Northern Ireland.
Committee chair Sue Ramsey called on health, social services and public services minister Edwin Poots to make it mandatory for GPs to provide annual health checks for their patients to help promote good health, prevent ill health and detect disease at an early stage.
MLAs voted in favour of implementing a scheme similar to one already in place in Cuba under which everyone visits their local GP every year for a range of tests and to talk about their mental health.
BMA Northern Ireland GPs committee chair Tom Black said: ‘It is extremely disappointing that when medical professionals present clear and unambiguous research to show this shouldn’t be done … politicians take the view they know better.’
GP leaders have already warned that workloads will become unsustainable due to proposed contract changes and the health service shake-up, Transforming Your Care.