Northern Ireland

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BMA NI response to GMC report

Commenting on the GMC report Caring for doctors; caring for patients Dr Noel Sharkey, chair of BMA Northern Ireland’s junior doctors committee said; “This report highlights that, as the BMA’s mission states, we need to take care of doctors so they can take care of patients. All doctors need to know that their employer cares about their well-being, both their physical and mental health.  


“Retention of doctors is a big issue in Northern Ireland and the report highlights the high level of vacant posts in our health system. We need to retain the doctors we have working here and attract more doctors from across the UK and from other countries. But they are only going to want to come here if they know they will be valued and supported in their workplace. We also agree that we need more medical school places in Northern Ireland as we need to train more doctors now so there is a big enough workforce to look after people in the future.


“When doctors are working beyond their contracted hours on a regular basis, and not getting rest and breaks they both need and are entitled to, it chips away at morale. Some of the changes do not need to be expensive or difficult, when we surveyed junior doctors in Northern Ireland about their working lives some of the things they mentioned as being important to them were being able to take leave when they wanted, having more control over their rota, access to nutritious food during the day and at night and being thanked for the work they did. The report highlights the need for more robust working pattern monitoring processes and we would strongly support that.


“The report highlights some great initiatives in Northern Ireland, including the single lead employer for doctors in training and the improving junior doctor and dentists working group. We are keen to see these initiatives develop and begin to make a real difference for doctors in training.”

For further information please contact:

BMA Northern Ireland, 16 Cromac Place, Cromac Wood, Ormeau Road, Belfast BT7 2JB
028 9026 9666   (switchboard)
028 9026 9672   (direct line)
074 0880 9519   (mobile / out of hours)
Email: [email protected] 
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