Dr Tom Black, chair of BMA’s Northern Ireland Council, said: “This is a positive and welcome honour for the work health and social care staff do in caring for the most sick and vulnerable in our society since the foundation of the NHS 73 years ago today.
“The pandemic has served to magnify the importance of this work. Staff rallied to respond to covid-19 putting their own lives at risk in the process and amid existing and well-documented workforce and workload challenges to health and social care services. This award will be a welcome recognition for them, many of whom have been left exhausted and burnt out by the pandemic response.
“A further tribute to staff - and to protect our valuable NHS for future generations - would be to ensure there is adequate workforce numbers and resources to support staff in continuing to treat the most sick and vulnerable in our society.”