Following the publication today [Monday 14 May] of the Department of Health’s Workforce Strategy, BMA Northern Ireland Council chair Dr John D Woods commented;
“We welcome publication of the Workforce strategy; it is an important step in the right direction. The strategy outlines a series of actions which if implemented will, over time, help address serious problems among the medical workforce.
“The strategy is a key element in ensuring transformation of Northern Ireland’s health and social care service can actually be delivered. Without the appropriate numbers of staff working in the right environment, who are supported and resourced to do their jobs properly, we cannot have the health service we all aspire to.
“The pressure healthcare staff are under on a daily basis cannot be overstated and reducing this pressure is central to making the health and social care sector somewhere people want to work. The plans to develop multidisciplinary teams, address staff health and well-being and improve occupational health are welcome but it needs to be coupled with a reduction in waiting lists, pay parity and more staff on the ground.”
“It takes between ten and 15 years to educate and train a doctor, which means that planning and decision-making around future medical workforce needs to adopt a long-term perspective. With a plan in place the Department must now make sure there is a budget allocated to it and that it is fully implemented.
“Doctors are looking for increased flexibility in their working lives. They have transportable skills and we need to offer staff the right mix of opportunities and remuneration to make sure they want to stay in the NHS.
“We particularly welcome the work the Department is committed to in relation to having a single lead employer for doctors in training. The current system where junior doctors change employer every six months is inefficient, with doctors having to repeat mandatory training and the process of signing on to a new employer.
“A single lead employer will save both time and money, meaning junior doctors have more time to spend with patients.
“We also welcome the planned work on addressing the lack of proper rest facilities and access to nutritious food throughout the week and at night.”
For further information please contact:
BMA Northern Ireland, 16 Cromac Place, Cromac Wood, Ormeau Road, Belfast BT7 2JB
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