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Northern Ireland News

Northern Ireland - what is the significance of the Westminster elections for health and social care of older people in Northern Ireland?

Northern Ireland’s health and social care system is subject to a high degree of political and media interest. The last five years have seen a period of unprecedented scrutiny of the system. The Northern Ireland population is highly reliant on the public sector as an employer with 10 per cent of all employees in Northern Ireland working in the health and social care system on a full or part-time basis (Northern Ireland health and social Care workforce census 2013). The responsibility for the provision of health and social care was devolved from Westminster to the Northern Ireland Assembly, which serves a population of 1.8 million, of whom approximately 250,000 are 65 years and over.

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Northern Ireland Health minister proposes reintroduction of prescription charges

BBC: Health minister Jim Wells has proposed to pay for a new specialist drugs fund in Northern Ireland. The amount that would be charged and any exemptions are to be decided during a 3-month consultation. The specialist drugs fund would pay for drugs that are either too expensive or too specific to be licensed for use at the moment.

Prescription charges were abolished in Northern Ireland in 2010. Now the Department of Health hopes to raise between £5m and £10m through some form of prescription charging.

The specialist drugs fund would be similar to the cancer drugs fund in England and would pay for drugs that are either too expensive or too specific to be licensed by NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) for general use at the moment.

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BGS Travel Grants - Northern Ireland

The British Geriatrics Society Northern Irish Region is offering a limited number of grants of up to £450 to:

a)support attendance of meetings in Geriatric Medicine (or related subjects, e.g. Stroke, Parkinson’s Disease) abroad (including Ireland), but NOT in the UK, if the applicant’s study leave allowance is unavailable or insufficient to meet expenses to attend such meetings. 

b)To support SpRs, young doctors who have been accepted to present work at BGS Scientific Meetings, where the applicant’s study leave allowance is unavailable or insufficient to meet expenses to attend the BGS meeting and Central BGS office have already funded the applicant once within the last two years.

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