UNISON Northern Ireland



27 June 2017

Anne Speed, Head of Bargaining and Representation at UNISON NI has welcomed the move by the Department of Health in reversing its decision to cut money from a training fund for specialist nurses in Northern Ireland.

While reinstating the £1.3m is better than nothing, there is still a large funding gap of about £550,000.

The Department of Health, spokesperson has stated that;

‘Funding of £1.3m will be provided towards the education and training spend for post-registration nursing, midwifery and allied health professionals.

This will be prioritised to support clinical practice across a range of acute and community areas including health visiting, district nursing and cancer nursing programmes, in line with the department's "transformation agenda as set out in Delivering Together".

The final revised funding position is possible as a consequence of changes in expenditure needs in other areas, and is to be welcomed in view of the importance of continuing to invest in training our workforce.’



23 June 2017


Statement from Anne Speed, Head of Bargaining & Representation, UNISON


UNISON Nursing Forum members have pledged to challenge, at every level we can, the cut of almost £1 million from the nurse training fund.

Joint Chairpersons Marion Ritchie and Eoin Stewart expressed dismay ay this announcement from the Ulster University.

“This decision taken by the Department of Health, which impacts on training of specialist nurses represents a reduction of almost 60% of its funds.  Part of the role of the school of nursing is to train already qualified nurses to be health visitors, community and district nurses.

This seems to run counter to the reform agenda “Delivering Together” announced by the last Health Minister and does not seem to make any sense at a time when a shift to care in the community is being advocated for, planned and developed across Northern Ireland.

There has been absolutely no communication with UNISON Nursing Forum or other trade unions. We don’t believe the Department officials who took this decision really understand the impact of what they have done.

Dropping the number of expected trainees from 63 health visitors to only 20, and halving the intake of trainees for district nursing is going backwards.

UNISON has sent a formal letter to the Permanent Secretary, Richard Pengelly at the Department of Health seeking full disclosure of the grounds for withdrawal of funding and UNISON expects to be joining with other colleagues to seek to reverse this cut.“



For further information, please contact: Anne Speed (07904 427 133),
Marion Ritchie (07808 055 376) or Eoin Stewart (07811 459 603)