Announced cuts to advanced nursing training will have drastic long-term impact

Unite Conference 106Training places for health visitor district nursing and advanced practitioners will be halved

Cuts will impact school nurse numbers leaving vulnerable children at risk

June 22nd: Kevin McAdam, Unite Regional Officer with responsibility for the Health sector in Northern Ireland responded to confirmation that funding would be removed from a range of advanced nursing courses in Northern Ireland.

“Unite the union has learned that funding for a range of advanced nursing courses is to be cut by £1.8 million in both Queens University and the Ulster University. This cut will impact not just on the universities but on the delivery of health care. The courses affected include health visiting district nursing and advanced practitioners.

“We are concerned that this unilateral decision taken by the permanent secretary will increase the pressure on existing staff and their current heavy workload and will impact on the delivery of community care – the very thing the department has stated it wants to improve in order to take the pressures off emergency departments.

“This is a short-term savings cut that will have a drastic long-term impact on the most vulnerable in society who need treatment in their own homes.

“School nurse numbers are already very low. These cuts will mean that they are grossly inadequate to deal with demand from those at school age who are facing mental health, obesity and other health problems.

“In addition, this cut will redouble difficulties already faced in recruitment and retention of Health Visitors. It places an additional pressure on those already qualified who have watched their pay stagnate over recent years.

“The unions only found out about this indirectly as the Department failed to engage with the representatives of nursing and other healthcare workers. We will be discussing our response among our members in nursing. The health service is hugely dependent on the good will of its workers – that cannot be taken for granted. Workers’ and patient care cannot be viewed as a soft target for austerity cuts”, Mr McAdam ended.

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