Ulster Unionist MP Tom Elliott has called on the Government to provide a better experience and working conditions for Health Service staff.
Mr Elliott, who was present at a Westminster Hall debate triggered by an e-petition relating to pay restraint for Agenda for Change NHS staff, said:
“Health Service staff provide an extremely vital role within our community. They do so under massive pressure, working long hours and in many instances going far beyond the call of duty to care for the vulnerable, sick and less able within our society. Without their dogged dedication I have no doubt whatsoever that the current waiting times crisis would be significantly worse.
“The role of doctors, nurses and community care staff should be at the top of the Government’s priority list to ensure our frontline staff receive the proper pay and working conditions that they more than deserve.
“This week I was pleased to attend and participate in the Westminster Hall debate concerning this issue. All MPs present know the value of our healthcare professionals, especially those who have recently received such care or have sat by the bedsides of loved ones.
“It is outrageous that over recent years groups within our health staff, such as nurses and midwives, have had to effectively plead for basic pay increases. Given that our medical staff in Northern Ireland are signed up to the NHS’s wider UK terms and conditions, when the Independent Pay Review Body recommends a minor increase, and it is implemented in other parts of the UK, it should be implemented here.
“The Government must provide a pay and conditions package that gives proper recognition to essential health service providers.”