20/05/2024

Widespread Disruption Expected Across Health Service

The Department of Health (DoH) have warned about possibility of widespread disruption in the health service this week due to industrial action.

The BMA Junior Doctors Committee has announced two day strike action from 7am on Wednesday 22 May until 7am on Friday 24 May.

HSC Trusts will work to mitigate the impact as much as possible and will publish more information this week on affected service areas. Significant disruption is expected not only on the two strike days but over following days.

The Department stands ready to continue discussions with the Junior Doctors Committee and does not accept that talks have "collapsed". There are important issues of substance to be progressed, including reform of the current junior doctor contract in NI. The Department has offered a process of independent arbitration, but this has not been taken up to date.
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Addressing the industrial action, the DoH said: "When the ballot for industrial action was launched, junior doctors - like the rest of the NI health service staff – had received no pay award for 2023/24.

"That is no longer the case. The 2023/24 recommendations of the national pay review body, the DDRB, have now been implemented in NI. The award will be paid in the June pay run, landing in pay packets next month.

"For junior doctors in Northern Ireland, it will bring an average pay increase of 9.07%, with those in their first year receiving a 10.68% uplift.

"The Department cannot resolve the BMA demand for pay restoration – for a pay settlement that reverses public sector pay limits over the past decade and more.

"That's an issue that has impacted public sector employees across the UK as a result of UK Government policy. It is a national issue that cannot be resolved locally."

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