Working with the Northern Ireland Assembly

We work with the Northern Ireland Assembly and Department of Health to influence legislation and create change for doctors and health policy in Northern Ireland. 

Location: Northern Ireland
Audience: All doctors Patients and public
Updated: Monday 8 April 2024
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The Northern Ireland Assembly is a central focus for our lobbying and influencing activities.

Throughout the current mandate we will lobby on the prominent issues currently facing doctors and medical students in Northern Ireland.

Support for the medical workforce

We want the Department of Health to:

  • Immediately pay the 2023-24 DDRB uplift of 6% for all doctors.
  • Commit to an additional immediate above inflationary pay uplift for all doctors in Northern Ireland.
  • Work with BMA NI to achieve full pay restoration. [link to pay campaign page]
  • Commit to medical workforce planning to ensure there are enough doctors to provide high quality and safe patient care.
  • Review the fees and costs associated with studying medicine and junior doctor training so that no-one is deterred from becoming a doctor due to cost.

General Practice

Increased investment in general practice is urgently needed as well as simplifying the current contract. This would include:

  • A state backed indemnity scheme such as is available in the other nations, to attract new GPs, and to ensure parity with GPs in other nations.
  • A commitment to annually review and fund the number of doctors in training to ensure numbers reflect population requirements.
  • Roll out funding for multi-Disciplinary Teams (MDTs) across Northern Ireland to ensure equitable access.
  • GP premises to be improved through proper funding and infrastructure planning to enable practices to house MDTs and attract new GPs to work in them.
  • An uplift in funding for general practice to help them address rising costs.

Transformation and Reform

BMA NI is frustrated by the slow pace of transformation and reform of health and social care in Northern Ireland; plans have been made, but implementation has not followed. The case for change has been clearly made. We do not need another plan or working group to delay the actions that are clearly needed to avert complete collapse of the health service. The Department must prioritise the actions arising from the Bengoa Report to stabilise and transform the health service.

Patient safety

Our asks:

  • the introduction of safe staffing legislation
    transparency around vacancies and how these are defined
  • the introduction of an organisational duty of candour

Population health

Persistent inequalities remain entrenched in certain communities in Northern Ireland.

People living in more deprived areas five times are more likely to suffer drug related deaths. Smoking during pregnancy, alcoholism and teenage births are also significantly higher in poorer communities.

We want these inequalities to be addressed through the proper resourcing of the planning model to deliver population health.

We are also calling for:

  • health impact assessment to be part of the normal process for all new legislation across all Government departments
  • introduction of minimum unit pricing of alcohol
  • properly resourced and sustainable mental health services
  • climate change to be addressed to prevent further health inequalities.