Commenting on today’s waiting list statistics, Dr Tom Black, BMA northern Ireland Council chair said, “Today’s waiting list statistics again make for shocking and depressing reading for doctors and patients. Waiting four and five years for consultations and treatment is unbelievable and totally unacceptable. No doctor wants to be in a position where they are telling someone it is going to be years to get treated.
“Without action and decision making, the lists and waiting times are going to get even worse. Our health service needs more funding, but the problems cannot be solved with short term, one-off injections of cash. We need a proper three-year budget that enables longer term planning and change to be made.
“Underpinning this is the need to value staff and pay them properly. It is a disgrace that no doctor in Northern Ireland is going to get the 6% pay uplift that doctors in the rest of the UK are getting. While there may be a will to pay the uplift, there now needs to be a way. However even that uplift does not do enough to address the sub-inflationary pay rises and widening gap between doctors working here and those in the rest of the UK or Ireland.
“The Assembly needs to resume immediately to begin to address these issues and one of the first tasks for a new health minister will be to carry out some robust and realistic medical workforce planning to ensure there are enough doctors to cover rotas and treat patients both now and in the future.”
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.