Nurses demonstrate over ‘deteriorating’ health care in NI
Doctors in Northern Ireland have staged a demonstration against the region’s “deteriorating” health service.
Members of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) gathered at the gates of Stormont before walking the mile to Parliament Houses with placards.
The Department of Health said last week that officials had to take spending cut decisions with “great regret” after Foreign Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris set the budget in the absence of locally elected ministers.
The expected cuts include reducing the number of nursing student places in Northern Ireland to 1,025.
Rita Devlin, director of the RCN Northern Ireland, said the current state of healthcare is the worst she has seen in her career.
She said there were almost 3,000 unfilled nursing positions in the healthcare sector and a similar number in the free sector.
“We don’t have enough nurses in Northern Ireland to look after our patients,” she said.
“Nurse nurses in Northern Ireland are again the lowest paid in the UK, despite the executive promising us when we went on strike in 2019 that nothing like this would ever happen to us again and they are cutting 300 nursing student places.” It’s going to be really difficult consequences for us have in the future.
“It is no wonder that we have problems with recruitment and retention in our health service.”
Ms Devlin insisted money could be found, saying instead there was a lack of political will.
She did not rule out further strikes by the nurses.
We don’t believe there is no money, we believe this is a political attitude that is holding the people of Northern Ireland hostage and we don’t believe the government
Ms Devlin said: “I have a feeling our members are being cornered because if we don’t strike, what else?
“We will not stand by as our nurses in Northern Ireland are the lowest paid in the UK, we will not stand by as our healthcare system deteriorates to the point where people have no choice but to spend their money.” and go private, we will not stand idly by while this country and its healthcare system are destroyed.
“I think it’s all politics. I think we are being led to believe that there is no money. There’s always money, there’s always money when governments need to raise money, there’s always money for guns, there’s always money for failed PSAs.
“We don’t believe there is no money, we believe this is a political stance of holding the people of Northern Ireland hostage and we don’t believe the government.
“The money is there, they just choose not to give it to the healthcare system in Northern Ireland.”
https://www.standard.co.uk/news/politics/nurses-royal-college-of-nursing-budget-chris-heatonharris-stormont-b1082158.html Nurses demonstrate over ‘deteriorating’ health care in NI