Crisis Deepening In Health Service

Trusts release joint statement as industrial action by trade unions looms

Trusts release joint statement as industrial action by trade unions looms

As the Northern Ireland health service creaks under the stresses of winter demand, funding issues, and post-Covid exhaustion, and the lack of a functioning Assembly, the nurses’ strike impending adds another payer of difficulties for hospital chiefs to manage.

In a joint statement, the Chief Executives of the NI hospital trusts said: “Our Health and Social Care System is facing a prolonged period of industrial action.

“Inevitably there will be an impact on services. However, we have contingency plans in place and are working closely with the Trade Unions to protect our critical services and to mitigate disruption, as far as possible.

Strikers and supporters at the gate of the Downe Hospital supporting the nurses strike in December 2019.

Our staff are not just the back bone of health and care services, they are our colleagues and friends. Working in the Health and Social Care System is a way of life.

“The HSC is a family because of the incredible work that takes place on a daily basis, often including additional service over and above normal duties. We obviously want to see all staff properly rewarded for their work.

“They have been impacted heavily by cost of living increases and escalating pressures on Health and Social Care services. We must also never forget what they did for us all during the pandemic.

Daisy Hill Hospital will also see nurses striking.

HSC leaders issued a joint statement three years ago, when health and social care workers in Northern Ireland were taking industrial action.

Its central plea remains just as relevant today and they repeated it saying:

“We are all aware that the Health and Social Care System in Northern Ireland requires a long-term funding settlement that addresses service, workforce and pay pressures in a sustainable manner.¬†

“We have been struggling with a system where funding has been made available on a yearly basis, which makes it impossible to plan for the long-term.

“Demand is increasing and will continue to do so, meaning that the current system is simply unsustainable.”