UNISON Northern Ireland


Today (26th November) UNISON has learnt that the Chief Nursing Officer at the Department of Health has decided to cancel the All Ireland Chief Nursing Officers Conference that had been scheduled to take place in Belfast on 3rd December due to planned industrial action by nurses. Responding to the cancellation, UNISON Head of Bargaining and Representation, Anne Speed, said:

“The decision to cancel this conference is the right one. To hold a conference considering the future of nursing on the same day as nurses have been forced to take industrial action because of the ongoing crisis in our health service would have been totally inappropriate.

The focus of the Chief Nursing Officer and the Department of Health at this time should be on resolving the unsafe staffing levels and lack of pay parity that have forced nurses to take industrial action in the first place. The highest number of vacancies within the health service is in registered nursing, with nearly 2,500 posts lying vacant.

UNISON wants a seat at the table to discuss the future of nursing and the future of health and social care across this island. But that discussion cannot take place whilst thousands of nursing posts lie unfilled and nurses in Northern Ireland are paid less than their colleagues across the NHS.”