Health service staff underpaid again

Environment Minister Mark H Durkan.
Environment Minister Mark H Durkan.

SDLP Mark H Durkan has expressed concern after health service staff were left underpaid again yesterday morning.

Mr. Durkan said: “The significant difficulties experienced by staff because of underpayment have resulted in many workers suffering unnecessary financial hardship over the past number of months. Some workers have not been paid smaller amounts and have been forced to cut back on expenditure but, more worryingly, others have not been able to pay their mortgage. That is totally unacceptable.

“The response of the health minister and the Department to date has been characterized by finger-pointing and inaction.

“Serious questions must be asked about the viability of the new health care payment system and about the clear absence of a back-up plan in the case of failure. Last month I assisted a number of constituents get their pay sorted out- yesterday my office was inundated with the same plus more constituents with the same problem. The minister needs to stop burying his head in the sand and tackle this problem head on. Tt’s time to “stop passing the buck” and start passing the bucks!”

A Western Health and Social Care Trust (Western Trust) spokesperson said: “As an employer we are very concerned about the on-going difficulties our staff are having with their pay. We are working to ensure that all affected staff receive any shortfall in payments and their pay entitlements as quickly as possible.”