Health, Social Services and Public Safety

Part of Oral Answers to Questions – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 3:30 pm on 19th March 2013.

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Photo of Edwin Poots Edwin Poots DUP 3:30 pm, 19th March 2013

We operate under a protocol for doctors that was established in London, and that agreement is carried out across the four countries.  Our position is that doctors are allowed to carry out work outside the time that they are employed in the National Health Service (NHS).  I suspect that if we wished to change that, it would be very challenging.  Consultants' ability to move makes them very accessible, and they can move to locations that best suit their needs.  Therefore, we need to be very careful about how we approach the issue.  Doctors are allowed to practise outside the National Health Service.  I think that some of the agreements that have been made with them have not necessarily been in the public's best interests, but seeking to change those will be very challenging.