UNISON Northern Ireland

Solidarity message from the UNISON NURSING FORUM on International Nurses Day

On the 12th May the theme of International Nurse’s Day is “Investing in Nurses”, no better phrase at this time is more appropriate. The cost of living crisis has brought home to the UNISON Nursing Family that NHS pay is not sufficient for many to pay the bills, food, fuel etc. Many of our Student Nurses struggle to live on bursaries without supplementing their bursary with paid work. The UK Government has under invested in the NHS and has privatised many of our services and paid an exorbitant amount of money to agencies and locums.

The recent UNISON UK Health conference heard strong speeches from our nursing family membership who are disgusted that yet again the UK Government have not valued the sacrifice and dedication the nursing family have made through Covid-19.

The issue of mileage was highlighted, and a strong challenge was directed at the inadequate mileage rate that force our Community colleagues to pay to travel to work rather than being paid to travel to deliver the service. There has to be flexibility included in any new revised mileage rates which recognises rural distances.

As Covid-19 remains the biggest health issue within the NHS, now more than ever the Nursing Family needs the support and confidence to continue that fight. Here in Northern Ireland, UNISON continues the fight for safe staffing, fair pay and a rise for all the nursing family within the public and private sectors. Poorer staffing levels have contributed to stress and burnout for staff. The pressure of working during the Covid pandemic and low morale because of poor pay uplifts are significant reasons for the departure of staff from the health service. UNISON is actively campaigning for legislation and investment to secure safe staffing levels throughout NI as was promised at the time of the Strike in 2019.

Our newly qualified nurses’ studies have also been severely affected and as they come into the workforce, they also need support and guidance to give them confidence to be an active member of the team.

The UNISON NI Nursing Forum is a voice here that incorporates experience, newly qualified and students within our UNISON branch structures to raise concerns and issues that are local and regional. We need to challenge the status quo to Stand Up and Speak Out for all within the Nursing Family.

Enjoy International Nurses Day, The UNISON NI Nursing Forum.

To get involved in the nursing forum contact us at unisonnorthernireland@unison.co.uk