Commenting on today’s [9 April 2019] report from the Northern Ireland Audit Office, Dr Tom Black BMA Northern Ireland Council chair said, “The cost of locum doctors is completely unacceptable. There needs to be proper, long-term workforce planning done in Northern Ireland, and these plans need to be implemented. Using locums to plug workforce gaps benefits neither patients or the health service.

“We are also concerned that using so many locums has a negative effect on training as younger doctors step out of the training programme to locum and this has a long-term impact on service provision. There are non-pay issues faced by doctors in training that need addressed to help make embarking on a long-term training attractive and rewarding.