Northern Ireland

We have had some success in getting the DHSSPS to reduce the waiting period for funding for biologics, but we will continue to lobby/campaign for the removal of the continuing three-month delay.

We have had a productive and useful meeting with the President and CEO of BSR and we hope to hold an annual meeting with a focus on service/BSR regional issues.

We have recently contributed to a prescribing formulary for N. Ireland although this has yet to be implemented. We are planning to work together to ensure that current DHSSPS proposals for 'transforming your care' (i.e. moving services into the community) do not interfere with specialist care pathways. These developments are significantly different to the recent NHS 'reforms' in England and are being implemented in different ways across our region. We are not facing privatisation of services at the moment. We also do not have 'best practice tariffs' in N. Ireland, so implementing changes to services for early arthritis without additional resources remains a major challenge for us. We are currently working on plans for a regional clinical database.

Regional chair: Dr Adrian Pendleton

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