Northern Ireland

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NI junior doctor leader comments on latest waiting time stats

Commenting on the latest Department of Health quarterly waiting time statistics, Dr Noel Sharkey, Chair of BMA’s Northern Ireland junior doctors committee (NIJDC) said: “I’d like to echo what the Health Minister has already said today, that Northern Ireland’s hospital waiting times are quite simply appalling.

“We need to change our health system to make it a place where junior doctors want to work.  We will not be able to address the waiting list issues either now or in the future if junior doctors move away from Northern Ireland or are forced out of training altogether due to burnout and low morale. BMA has consistently said we do not have enough doctors working here to treat the population.  Serious under-funding in health and social care, poor workforce planning and growing system pressures has meant Northern Ireland is no longer an attractive place to work for newly qualified doctors. 

“Fewer doctors than ever are going on to specialty training programmes. In a recent BMA survey of our junior members, 40% said they would not recommend Northern Ireland as a place to undertake medical training and over a third of reported low morale.

“For the doctors in training we do have still working here, urgent action needs to be taken to improve their working lives otherwise we will lose them entirely. Failing to do so ultimately exacerbates the issues facing the Northern Ireland health service and effects the quality of care that to the population we serve.”



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