Claire Sugden, the Independent Unionist MLA for East Londonderry has given her support to the campaign against changes to the Junior Doctor Contract in Northern Ireland.
Miss Sugden said: “I fully support the campaign against changes to the Junior Doctor Contract in Northern Ireland. This week Junior Doctors again called on the health minister to rule out implementing changes here.
I represent a constituency with an acute hospital where a number of Junior Doctors work. I am concerned that proposals include cutting the number of payments for unsociable hours, and increasing working hours by making Saturdays and late evenings part of a normal working week.
These changes are unacceptable. They show lack of appreciation for our incredibly hard working Junior Doctors, who are already swamped by a Health Service which is operating at capacity. Many Doctors already care for patients beyond the hours they are required to work, and UK wide changes do not take into consideration different geographical contexts.
Wales and Scotland have already rejected these changes; I urge the Northern Ireland government to do the same. I have spoken with Junior Doctors and students who are involved with this campaign, and I am lobbying the Minister on their behalf. Their concerns are for the safety of patients; for them this is not about pay.
This is not the solution to problems within our Health Service; we need a forward thinking strategic framework. The Executive must listen to, and work with, those within our Health Service to lead on this.”