McAllister calls for urgent and meaningful engagement on junior doctor pay from the Health Minister

Alliance Health Spokesperson Nuala McAllister MLA has expressed concern at the lack of personal engagement from the Health Minister with unions, ahead of junior doctor strikes planned for 22nd - 24th May and 6th - 8th June.

Health Nuala McAllister

During a Health Committee meeting on Thursday (9 May), representatives from the British Medical Association (BMA) said they had only met with officials from the Department of Health, rather than the Minister. They also reported that there was no indication of any willingness to discuss the issues of pay, giving the impression that the door was firmly shut on such talks. 

Following the Health Committee, Ms McAllister said: “I am extremely concerned to hear that the Minister of Health has neglected to engage with representatives from the BMA ahead of industrial action from junior doctors which is planned in the coming weeks.

“Junior doctors are a vital element of the health service in Northern Ireland, yet they receive less pay and operate in poorer conditions than junior doctors in neighbouring jurisdictions which inevitably leads to issues in recruitment and retention.

“The Minister has made his stance on the budget position clear. However, Alliance has continually highlighted the opportunity to find efficiencies within the health system that are currently being missed. We are now facing industrial action as a last resort due to the Department of Health's lack of action, causing significant disruption.

“This is why Alliance is bringing a motion to the Assembly ahead of these strikes calling on the Health Minister to urgently and meaningfully engage with the BMA around junior doctor pay. Junior doctors play a vital role in the future of Northern Ireland’s healthcare, and it is crucial they have our support.”