May 21, 2024
Time for junior doctors to be respected and paid properly – Kearney

Sinn Féin’s Declan Kearney has called for the Department of Health to engage fully with Junior Doctors to find an acceptable resolution to their pay dispute.

Speaking in the Assembly, the South Antrim MLA said:

“Junior doctors play a vital role within the north’s health care system – a system that is already faced with significant staffing challenges, in a highly pressurised work environment. 

“Our junior doctors correctly believe that they are undervalued, underpaid, and overworked.

“As a result, they have been forced onto picket lines for fair pay and equal treatment. They are demanding to be treated on a par with their counterparts who enjoy better pay and conditions in other regions.

“Others are now choosing to leave our health care system entirely to emigrate to other jurisdictions. The failure to deliver fair pay and decent working conditions, makes retention of junior doctors in the north impossible. We are now losing essential, highly trained medical professionals to other places where they are being treated better.

“In my meetings with junior doctors, including on their picket lines, I have listened to their experiences which include lack of rest periods and even access to showering facilities. Many with young families to rear regularly work beyond their rostered hours.

“Junior doctors being left to work long shifts, many through the night, with nowhere to take a break to eat, rest and wash is not acceptable – they deserve better. 

“Just like nurses and other health service staff, junior doctors are vital to the sustainability of our healthcare system.

“The Department of Health needs to urgently engage constructively with them, to find an acceptable resolution to this pay and working conditions dispute.

“It is time for these doctors to be valued, respected and paid properly. But it is also critical that the poor working conditions being endured by so many of our junior doctors are also comprehensively addressed.”

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