Doctor shortage is a major concern: Durkan

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SDLP Health Spokesperson Mark H Durkan MLA has said Trusts must urgently address the shortage of doctors in hospitals in the North West.

Speaking following the publication of a report from the Northern Ireland Audit Office, the Foyle MLA said: “Patient safety must be paramount within our health service and in order to provide people with the best standard of care, our hospitals must be managed better and the shortage of doctors urgently addressed.

“In the North West changes to immigration law and European legislation are making it extremely difficult for the Trusts to recruit and keep doctors working here on a permanent basis.

“This has forced many to bring on more expensive locum staff, many of whom, worryingly, have not had to undergo checks to ensure they are fit for the job.

“The budget pushed through by Sinn Fein and the DUP for the next four years paints a bleak picture for the future of our frontline health services with savage cuts in hospital resources across the North appearing inevitable.

“In order to attempt to combat this butchering of our health service and make the most of available funds, we must look at reducing the excessive hourly rate being paid to locum doctors.”