Dr Tom Black, chair of BMA’s Northern Ireland Council, said: “We appreciate the efforts of both the Health Minister and the Finance Minister in securing an additional £200 million for the health service in a highly constricted financial environment as the effects of the pandemic on our society continues. The money is a start in tackling the chronic capacity issues in the system, but it is simply not sufficient to solve this problem long-term as countless reviews and reports have told us.
“The 3% pay uplift begins the process of recognising the huge contribution doctors have made to the pandemic effort. However, it is insufficient in addressing the long-term pay erosion they have faced over the last decade in Northern Ireland. Many will feel this uplift falls short of adequately rewarding doctors who are in the midst of yet another covid surge 20 months into working on the frontline of this pandemic, alongside tackling growing elective care waiting lists. They are exhausted and now face what potentially will be the worst winter our health service will see.
“The waiting list crisis and workforce gaps go hand-in-hand so we cannot afford to lose any more doctors from the health service. Only by having more staff will we be able to have more beds and better diagnostics and be in any position to tackle our waiting lists. Unfortunately, this is not helped by the current pension taxation system that still continues to force unfair financial penalties on doctors who work extra shifts to cover workforce vacancies and reduce waiting lists. This needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency.”