McGrath shows support for junior doctors

health Colin McGrath Junior doctors

SDLP Health Spokesperson Colin McGrath has given the party’s full backing to junior doctors taking industrial action on Wednesday.

Mr McGrath visited the picket line at the Ulster Hospital to show solidarity with those on strike.

It is the first time junior doctors have taken strike action in the North.

South Down MLA Mr McGrath said:

“The SDLP stands fully behind junior doctors who were forced to take the difficult decision to strike for the first time on Wednesday. The overwhelming support among union members for taking this action shows the strength of feeling that exists within our junior doctors as they continue their fight for fair pay and working conditions.

“I have been engaging with the BMA on the challenges facing junior doctors for some time and those I met at the picket line on Wednesday reflected just how tough things are at the minute. Junior doctors work incredibly long hours on difficult schedules and I heard first-hand how some face difficulties getting time off, even to attend a friend’s wedding or other important life events. The facilities on offer during shifts are also often completely inadequate for those working overnight, making a bad situation even worse.

“The reality is that our junior doctors are the lowest paid anywhere on these islands and unless this is addressed we will continue to lose talented people who decide to move for better pay, treatment and opportunities. These are not just junior doctors, they are the doctors of tomorrow and given the challenges within our health service retaining the health professionals that we train is crucial. I would implore the Health Minister to listen to the experiences of junior doctors and reach a fair settlement. They are not asking for the earth and there needs to be an acknowledgement of the important role they play within our health system.”

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