We must invest in our health service

Steven Agnew MLA has today, Wednesday 21 October 2015, called on Health Minister Simon Hamilton not to impose a new contract on junior doctors.

“The health service cannot function without junior doctors and it is important the Northern Ireland Health Minister does not take the same confrontational approach as his counterpart in Westminster, Jeremy Hunt,” he said.

“The Health Minister must work cooperatively with junior doctors to ensure the needs of patients and health professionals can be met in an evolving health service.

“Devolution gives us the opportunity to do things differently in Northern Ireland and a simple cut and paste of English reforms would be unacceptable.

“I am particularly concerned about the possibility of further increasing the workload of junior doctors at the detriment of work life balance with a particularly negative effect on those with young families.

“Overworking doctors is not the answer to increased demand – we must invest in our health service.

“As a patient, I would hope that the doctor treating me is well-rested and alert. Increasing working hours and reducing breaks is not the way to achieve this.

“I call on Minister Simon Hamilton not to impose such a contract locally”.

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