UNISON Northern Ireland


Your UNISON NI Health Team across the HSC continues to support members and make challenges on all the key issues arising for our members.

The current surge and escalation of infection and hospital admissions has increased pressures on our members who have already been holding the line over a number of months.

Our health workforce members are appealing to the general public to comply with the regulations. This the best way to support them, protect the health service and save lives.

There are updates to guidance and employment rights for members on your employers websites.

UNISON and other health unions at a regional level have agreed a joint position on issues arising from the change in vaccination programme, posted previously.

UNISON and other health unions have been made aware by employers that very severe staffing shortages have increased the need to seek voluntary acceptance of redirected assignments by nursing and healthcare staff. Employers have also stated that where the level of volunteers falls below emergency need, this will raise a call to mandate re-assignment of staff. UNISON strongly wishes, hopes and expects every step will be taken to avoid such developments.

As a trade union we strongly believe that voluntary co-operation remains the better option.

However should circumstances arise where  steps are taken to  re- deploy staff  we will  officially  advise employers that the responsibility  for the outcomes of their instructions and decisions rests with them. We are also aware the NMC code stipulates registrants must recognise and work within their levels of competency. The NMC has recognised however that registrants may have to depart from normal procedures and work in different ways at times in the current emergency conditions.
Registrants must continue throughout this emergency, including when re-deployed; to exercise professional judgement, to raise concerns where necessary and to communicate with colleagues and patients honestly and transparently.

UNISON NI Health branches and the Nursing Forum can assist with our nurse and other members in undertaking re-deployed assignments who wish to set out their concerns to their employers.