Public meeting will highlight hospital staffing shortages

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A public meeting will take place at Antrim Civic Centre, next Thursday evening, (May 9) to highlight hospital staffing shortages in the Northern Health and Social Care Trust.

The community is urged to attend a discussion that will centre on concerns over staffing levels and nurses’ pay “crisis”.

The meeting is being organised by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) and will be held from 7.30 pm until 9.00 pm.

It is one of a series being held across the province.

The RCN says that it has sought approval to ballot members employed within the Health and Social Care sector on industrial action, including strike action.

RCN Northern Ireland director Pat Cullen said: “The health service in Northern Ireland is short of 2,105 registered nurses and a further 421 nursing assistants, around 12 per cent of the total workforce. The RCN believes that the shortage of nursing staff has become a “matter of public interest and a public safety issue, as nurses are raising their concerns that staffing shortages are affecting their ability to provide safe and effective care for patients”.

“It is time to explain to the people of Northern Ireland why nursing services are now at crisis point, how this situation has developed and seek their support for the measures that the RCN believes are necessary to resolve this crisis.”