Published: 07/11/2002, Volume II2, No. 5830 Page 6 7

An emergency meeting of Northern Ireland consultants was taking place as HSJ went to press, after the province narrowly accepted the new consultant contract.

Fifty-four per cent of Northern Ireland's consultants accepted the proposed contract, unlike colleagues in England and Wales.

The meeting, being held in Belfast on Tuesday, will try and decide a way forward on the basis of the close vote.

Among discussions at the Belfast meeting will be whether the consultants will join with Scotland in accepting the deal and implementing the contract, while England and Wales continue separate negotiations.

The Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety in Northern Ireland declined to comment ahead of the meeting.