Department of Health statement

Date published: 18 September 2023

The Department of Health is expecting significant disruption to services as a result of industrial action on September 21 and 22.

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Intensive work will continue this week with the aim of mitigating impacts on the public where possible, but some reductions in service are inevitable.

Information on impacts from industrial action will be provided on HSC Trust websites this week.

The Department understands the deep-seated frustration over the ongoing absence of a pay offer for this year but very much regrets that colleagues have decided this industrial action is required.

In setting out the implications of the budget it received for 2023/24, the Department said in May that it was facing an “impossible position” and that decisions are required that are not in the best interests of the health and social care system.

That remains the case today. As has been previously stated, the current budgetary constraints mean that matching the English pay offer for Agenda for Change health and social care staff would require large scale cuts on an unprecedented scale, with severe and lasting implications for services. That would be outside the scope of our decision making powers.

The Department continues to look for ways to address the pay challenge.

Notes to editors: 

  1. For media enquiries please contact DoH Press Office by email:
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  3. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for Media Enquiries Only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

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