Doctors ‘forced to leave Northern Ireland by uncertainties in recruitment’
Doctors are being forced to leave Northern Ireland because of recruitment uncertainty, the British Medical Association (BMA) has said.
The BMA said it was disappointed after the pay increase for junior medics was reduced to 1% following a three-month delay.
It said its members fully understood the serious financial strain the health service is under.
Health Minister Michael McGimpsey acknowledged the recruitment problems but blamed the Department of Finance and Personnel for turning down his bid for more money.
Dr David Farren, from the BMA, said: “Doctors fully understand the serious financial strain the health service is under. However, if we cannot recruit dedicated and talented doctors to work in Northern Ireland then we will end up with a third-rate service.”
The Northern Ireland Executive faces making almost £400m of savings plus an additional £128m of efficiencies announced at Westminster in recent days.
The Department of Health is responsible for the major proportion of the spending of the Executive but has pressed for exemption from austerity measures.
Dr Farren said colleagues in Britain had not applied for jobs in Northern Ireland because of three months of uncertainty about the pay award. “Junior doctors are a highly mobile workforce and will often apply for jobs that offer the best opportunity to learn with decent working conditions,” he said.
“It concerns us that doctors are trained in Northern Ireland at a cost to the taxpayer of £250,000, but are then forced to leave due to uncertainty over recruitment.”