Nurses confirm further strike dates for early January 2020

Nurses from the Royal College of Nursing union strike at Altnagelvin Hospital on Wednesday morning. DER5119GS - 007
Nurses from the Royal College of Nursing union strike at Altnagelvin Hospital on Wednesday morning. DER5119GS - 007

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) in Northern Ireland has sent notifications to the Department of Health and Health and Social Care employers that the next dates for strike action will be January 8 and 10, 2020.

Commenting on the ongoing action, Pat Cullen, Director of the RCN in Northern Ireland said: “Nurses in Northern Ireland are angry that no-one appears to be taking seriously the crisis in our health service.

Nurses from the Royal College of Nursing union strike at Altnagelvin Hospital on Wednesday morning. DER5119GS - 008

Nurses from the Royal College of Nursing union strike at Altnagelvin Hospital on Wednesday morning. DER5119GS - 008

“By now, no-one in Northern Ireland, or indeed the rest of the UK, can be in any doubt about the inequalities in health care that people in Northern Ireland are facing. Yet, here we are, a day before Christmas, with the prospect of nursing staff taking strike action again in early January.

“We have written to the Secretary of State to say that we are extremely disappointed to learn of the failure of the health summit last week to produce any resolution to the safe staffing and pay parity issues that form the basis of our action. We are also disappointed to hear that attempts to negotiate an agreement leading to the restoration of the devolved institutions has failed.

“Although we wish to see political leadership and accountability in Northern Ireland restored, nurses deeply resent the link that is being made between this and resolving the crisis in health care. Sorting out this crisis is a priority regardless of our political situation, which has been in disarray for the past three years. We do not have another three years to wait.

“We wonder how much longer this inaction can continue before somebody, somewhere, can take a decision to rectify the problems we are facing?”

The Department of Health meanwhile recently said that the impact of industrial action was compounding the challenges within the health service this winter in the north.