Responding to the Health Minister’s statement on health service planning for the winter, BMA’s Northern Ireland Council chair, Dr Tom Black, said: “Any additional funding for our health service is welcome and we fully appreciate the difficult position the Health Minister is in with no functioning Executive. However, these plans – issued just as we approach winter - are simply firefighting pressures our workforce feel started months ago, and we have been warning about this for months.
"Our stagnant politics have led to a stagnant health service reform agenda, with countless reviews and subsequent plans stalled or shelved entirely. We are now simply reacting to mounting and dangerous pressures.
"We need an Executive now. We need a proper multiyear budget now. Above all else, we need proper public accountability now. Under no circumstances can our overworked health service doctors and staff be held accountable for the harm we know will arise this winter."