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UNISON has responded to the Department of Health Permanent Secretary in relation to the creation of a new Management Board for the Health Service. Our Regional Secretary, Patricia McKeown, has written to the Permanent Secretary (16th June) expressing serious concerns around democratic accountability and engagement with UNISON on the future of the health service.

UNISON is calling for the voice of the workforce to be heard by the Management Board. Our health and social care workers are at the frontline in dealing with Covid-19 and will take the lead in rebuilding services. 

UNISON, the largest union in the health and social care system, has met with the South Eastern Trust regarding the return of services to the Downe Hospital.

A video created by UNISON Education Organiser Caitlin NiChathail on Returning to work safely has become a must watch feature on the UNISON Northern Ireland Facebook page. The video which has been viewed by almost 3,000 people and reached over 10,000 users in two days, is fast becoming an important source of information for members who are anxious about returning to work as lockdown measures ease.

Speaking after the Education Minister Peter Weir set a target date of Monday 17 August for some pupils to return to school, the Chair of the NIC-ICTU Education Group Denise Walker ( has stated that:  “It is now abundantly and alarmingly clear that the Minister of Education has no intention of engaging in proper consultation with trade unions.

UNISON notes the publication (9th June) by the Minister of Health, Robin Swann MLA, of the Strategic Framework for Rebuilding Health and Social Care Services and the creation of a new Management Board for the health service.

UNISON deeply regrets the death of our friend and comrade Eileen Sweeney and sends condolence to Eileen's family and to Patricia King, General Secretary ICTU. She will be a great loss to our movement.

Message from Patricia King General Secretary ICTU on the death of our esteemed colleague Eileen Sweeney

UNISON, the largest union in the health and social care system, has welcomed the latest announcement from Shane Devlin, the Chief Executive of the Southern Health and Social Care Trust, that Daisy Hill Hospital will be fully functioning and that emergency medicine will soon return.

UNISON notes and welcomes the announcement by the Minister of Health, Robin Swann MLA, that the Department of Health will provide funding for care homes to pay staff 80% of their salary when on sick leave for Covid-19 related reasons. UNISON Regional Secretary Patricia McKeown said:

UNISON has received the attached letter from the Minister for Education, Peter Weir MLA, explaining the approach the Department of Education intends to take in relation to the reopening of schools. UNISON has been engaging throughout the Covid-19 pandemic with the Department to ensure that the concerns of our members are heard and acted upon. We will continue to do so as part of the process around the reopening of schools. Members should continue to check our UNISON website and social media sites for updates as the planning around the reopening of schools continues.