Dr Tom Black, BMA NI Council chair, “BMA congratulates Robin Swann on his appointment to the post of health minister for Northern Ireland. Mr Swann will no doubt be aware of many issues healthcare face given his previous time in the role, and I am sure he shares our desire to see real change and transformation happen, and ensure patients In Northern Ireland receive timely and high quality care.
“Central to health is people. Doctors across the health service are exhausted, burnt out and demoralised and no longer feel valued. Working conditions are extremely challenging and pay has stagnated and no longer reflects the level of responsibility and risk doctors undertake.
“Northern Ireland currently is an unattractive place to work, with many doctors retiring early, reducing shifts and leaving to work elsewhere, including Ireland. Improving pay, terms and conditions is key to addressing this. Junior doctors are currently balloting for industrial action and intend to strike on 6 March 2024. Consultants and SAS doctors are also planning to ballot for industrial action.
“We need the Minister to immediately pay the 2023-24 DDRB recommended uplift and commit to an additional, immediate above inflation pay uplift for all doctors in Northern Ireland and work with us towards full pay restoration.
“General practice also urgently needs an indemnity solution and additional funding to halt the wave of practice closures.
“We look forward to working with Mr Swann to address these issues.”
Notes to editors
The BMA is a professional association and trade union representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.