900 nursing places - Magee decision due within weeks, says Health Minister Robin Swann

A decision on how many nursing places Magee College will get from the 900 new posts promised in the ‘New Decade, New Approach’ will be made by March.

Tuesday, 28th January 2020, 6:01 pm
Nursing places.

Health Minister Robin Swann said the extra undergraduate allocations will be revealed within weeks. He made the confirmation as fresh figures show unfilled vacancies and expenditure on locum doctors and agency nurses have risen sharply in the Western Trust.

Data released by Mr. Swann in response to an Assembly Question show that over £15,991,251 was spent on locum doctors and agency nurses in the Western Trust between April 1, 2019 and September 30, 2019.

If this pattern of spending continues for the remainder of the financial year the total locum and agency bill could eclipse the £27,719,021 incurred in 2018/19.

Meanwhile, the latest figures show there were 1,111 vacancies in the Western Trust at the end of September 2019 - nearly double the 685 vacancies in September 2018.

Sinn Féin MLA Karen Mullan asked the minister “how many of the 900 nursing and midwifery undergraduate places per year, detailed in ‘NDNA’, will be allocated to Magee.”

He replied: “No decisions have yet been taken on the allocation of the 900 additional nursing and midwifery undergraduate places over the next three years detailed in ‘NDNA’. These decisions are anticipated to be made by March 2020.”

Cash spent on locum doctors in the Western Trust doubled, from £10,569,863 in 2014/15 to £20,656,870 in 2018/19. Expenditure on agency nurses and midwives rose from £2,799,372 in 2014/15 to £7,062,151 in 2018/19.