Northern Ireland council

The Northern Ireland (NI) council focuses on matters relevant to the medical profession and healthcare in Northern Ireland; formulating policy and ensuring it is implemented.

Location: Northern Ireland
Audience: All doctors
Updated: Wednesday 17 August 2022
Voting card article illustration

Our priorities

Supporting the medical workforce

The Department of Health needs to ensure that doctors are paid fairly for the work they do; this will encourage experienced clinicians to stay in employment and attract doctors from other areas to fill the large number of vacancies in Northern Ireland. As part of this we are lobbying for pension mitigations to be introduced with immediate effect including employer pension contribution recycling and an Annual Allowance compensation scheme. We also want to see a commitment to annual pay rises of RPI +2%.

Other priorities include the reintroduction of clinical excellence awards, the appointment of a SAS dean, access for doctors to support services such as psychological support and proper medical workforce planning to ensure there are enough doctors to cover rotas and avoid over reliance on a small number of doctors.

Patient safety

The issue of patient safety and the potential for an individual duty of candour with criminal sanctions to be introduced are key concerns. We want to see the introduction of safe staffing legislation that also defines how vacancies are measured across health and social care so there is an accurate measure of true vacancy levels.

We support the introduction of an organisational duty of candour in Northern Ireland, so doctors can work in an environment of transparency, honesty and learning.

Medical workforce planning

Medical workforce planning means there will be the right number of doctors in GP practices, in hospitals and in the community to meet the increasingly complex health needs of the population. Currently the necessary number of doctors across branches of practice and specialties have not been trained to meet the health needs of the population.

If workforce planning is not dealt with as a matter of urgency, waiting lists will continue to spiral out of control, staff will suffer from burnout in trying to cover rotas and it will be difficult to attract potential doctors into medicine.

Population health

We believe Northern Ireland must move towards a population health model for planning services. This is an approach that aims to improve physical and mental health outcomes, promote wellbeing and reduce health inequalities across an entire population.

NIC pensions sub-committee

Northern Ireland Council has established a subcommittee on pensions, bringing together our reps on the HSC pensions board, scheme advisory board (SAB) and BMA Pensions Committee.

The purpose of the subcommittee is to:

  • ensure a coordinated and consistent approach to policy development
  • build and further develop organisational knowledge on pensions policy
  • support Northern Ireland Council to effectively represent members.

Tom Black

Anne Carson
David Farren
Stephen Moore

Johnny Burns
Paul Molloy
Alan Stout

Junior doctor:

Clodagh Corrigan


Our people

Chair: Dr Tom Black

Deputy chair: Dr Alan Stout


A list of members of the BMA Northern Ireland council, including voting and non-voting members.

Dr Alison Bell, junior doctor co-optee
Dr Tom Black, GP western division
Dr Carole Cairns, retired member
Dr Anne Carson, consultant southern division,
Dr Conan Castles, GP sessional
Dr Clodagh Corrigan, specialty doctor
Dr Rebecca Crothers, junior doctor
Dr Paul Darragh, associate specialist, UK council member
Dr Leanne Davison, chair of NISASC
Dr David Farren, consultant northern division, and chair of RLNC
Miss Blathnaid French, medical student
Miss Nell Haughey, medical student
Dr Sara Hedderwick, consultant, eastern division and UK council member
Dr Molly Kerr, junior doctor
Dr Allen McCullough, GP, northern division
Dr Laura McDonnell, GP co-optee
Dr Michael Mc Kenna, GP, eastern division
Dr Neena Modi, BMA President 2021-22
Dr Chaand Nagpaul, UK council chair
Dr Frances O’Hagan, GP, southern division
Dr Shane O’Hara, junior doctor
Ms Victoria Paice, medical students
Dr Latifa Patel, interim chair of representative body
Dr Trevor Pickersgill, BMA treasurer Dr Siobhan Quinn, associate specialist
Dr Siobhan Quinn, associate specialist
Dr David Ross, GP, eastern division
Dr Nahid Shamandi, junior doctor
Dr Alan Stout, GP, eastern division and chair of NIGPC
Dr Vinod Tohani, consultant, public health medicine
Dr Martin Tohill, consultant, occupational medicine
Dr Stephanie Warne, SAS co-optee
Dr Andrew Wilson, junior doctor and chair of NIJDC
Dr Colin Winter, consultant, eastern division
Dr John D Woods, consultant, eastern division and chair of NICC

Our meetings

Northern Ireland council meetings are open to council members only.

Meeting dates:

  • Wednesday 5 October 2022 (Hybrid)
  • Wednesday 8 February 2023 (Hybrid)
  • Wednesday 7 June 2023 (Hybrid)


Our terms of reference

BMA Northern Ireland council considers any and all matters of specific relevance to the medical profession and healthcare in Northern Ireland. The Northern Ireland council shall determine policy and action where the application is exclusive to Northern Ireland.


Voting members

NI council shall normally have 24 directly elected voting members. This shall include 21 directly elected from the following groups of members of the BMA in Northern Ireland. This is to ensure representation, as far as possible, from across the area of the four NI divisions and the branch of practice groupings.

  • Five members whose primary branch of practice is general practice of whom: four shall be GPs; one from East; one North; one South; one West; one sessional/locum/salaried.
  • Five members whose primary branch of practice is consultant of whom:
    two from East; one North; one South; one West.
  • Two members whose primary branch of practice is staff, associate specialist and specialty doctor with no more than one from any NI divisional area.
  • Five members whose primary branch of practice is junior doctor including one for the highest polling GP trainee.
  • Two members whose primary branch of practice is medical student.
  • One member whose primary branch of practice is either public health medicine, academic, armed forces, occupational medicine or members in practice but not covered by the above.
  • One member who is a retired member.
  • In addition to the 21 seats outlined above, there shall be three seats for the highest polling candidates who have not already been elected.

Eight ex-officio Northern Ireland members comprising the chair of the NI consultants committee, the NI general practitioners committee, the NI staff, associate specialists and specialty doctors committee, the NI junior doctors committee, the NI medical students committee, the NI medical academic staff committee, the NI public health medicine and community health committee as and when reconstituted and the regional local negotiating committee.

Ex-officio members of council shall hold office until the election of their successors. Deputy chairs of branch of practice committees may attend NI council in the absence of their chair, with the same voting rights.

Non-voting members

Designated ex-officio UK members comprising the president of the BMA, chair of UK council, chair of the representative body, the treasurer, members of UK council whose registered address is in Northern Ireland.

How to join the Northern Ireland council

There are many advantages to becoming involved in our committees. You can actively influence BMA policy-making and negotiations, represent your colleagues' voices and develop your leadership skills. 

Each committee has a few routes to becoming an elected member. In the case of Northern Ireland council, these are: 

Direct elections
  • Seats/term - every three years, elections for 24 seats on Northern Ireland council take place for a three-session term.
  • Timeline - elections are usually held prior the start of the session.
  • Eligibility - all BMA members who work and live in Northern Ireland are eligible to stand and vote in this election.

The election section below is kept up to date with details about any running elections, so make sure you keep checking it throughout the year.  



Elections to the Northern Ireland council are now closed.


Get in touch

We’re happy to answer any queries, give advice or help on any matter related to Northern Ireland council.

Telephone: 028 9026 9666
Fax: 028 9026 9665
Email: [email protected]