Responding to the announcement from the Royal College of Nursing that, along with members across the UK, its members in Northern Ireland have voted for industrial action, Dr Tom Black Chair of BMA NI council chair, said:
“Doctors across Northern Ireland offer our support and solidarity to nursing colleagues. It is a terrible reflection on our system that for the second time in only three years nurses in Northern Ireland have felt there is no other option but to take industrial action.
“Along with other frontline healthcare workers, nurses have borne the brunt of an understaffed and under-resourced health service, where despite their best efforts and working at their absolute limits, healthcare staff are too often unable to provide patients with the care they need. Their pay is falling in real terms and the lack of an Executive or Assembly means that the most recent below inflation pay award cannot even be made.
“I would urge our local politicians, in the strongest of terms, to get back to work to address these issues. Without meaningful action our health service will fail. We need stable government, investment, a multi-year budget and proper workforce planning. Paying staff fairly is a key part of workforce planning and should be a spending priority.
“The BMA will continue to support doctors by shortly providing guidance on how they can support nursing staff and other NHS colleagues in dispute.”
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.