McIntyre: Health Minister must reveal decision on junior doctor contracts

Alliance representatives at the Junior Doctor Rally.

Alliance representatives at the Junior Doctor Rally.

Alliance Councillor Aaron McIntyre has called on the Health Minister to announce his decision on junior doctor contracts, as Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council backed his proposal to write to the Minister, urging an immediate response.

Councillor McIntyre said: “Health is a devolved issue, so there is no reason for our Health Minister to follow the English Health Secretary, who has imposed the unfair and unsafe contracts on the junior doctors.

“Scotland and Wales have already stated they will not impose the new contracts and Alliance is calling on the Health Minister to end the uncertainty and make an announcement as soon as possible.

“Junior Doctors are the cornerstone of our health service and any negative changes to their contracts could have serious implications for staff welfare and the wellbeing of patients. The lack of a decision is already impacting morale among junior doctors.

“With the on-going uncertainty we will continue to see junior doctors vote with their feet, and any further brain drain will only further deepen the crisis within the NHS – especially with news this week that thousands of NHS posts lie vacant across the UK.”

Alliance Assembly member Trevor Lunn added: “Last October, Alliance MLAs wrote to the Health Minister to support the junior doctors. It is now time for a decision to end the uncertainty, which is impacting on morale in our hospitals. We cannot afford to lose any junior doctors to other health services which value them more highly.”