Upper Bann Sinn Féin Sinn Féin -- Building an Ireland of Equals

Concern Over Health Service Vacancies

Published: 7 January, 2019

Sinn Féin spokesperson Niamh Cusack has said new figures highlight the crippling impact of vacancies across the health service.

Figures recently released by the Department show that there are over 6,000 vacancies being actively recruited across the health service.

Ms Cusack said:

"This actually only shows the scale of vacancies being actively recruited. The true scale of the workforce issues is not represented in these figures.

"There are nearly 2,000 additional vacancies being recruited compared to the same time last year with the vacancies covering all trusts and roles. This includes Registered Nurses, Social Carer workers, admin staff, allied health professionals and doctors.

"We know that following the Brexit vote the number of registered nurses coming to the north from the EU has reduced sharply.

"Local Hospitals like Craigavon need access to EU staff to deliver first class modern medicine in conjunction with locally recruited high skilled staff.

"Ensuring capacity in the health and social care workforce is fundamental to delivering existing front line services.

"Michelle O'Neill as Health Minister substantially increased the number of nurse training places here in the north to help address these shortages. However in the immediate and short-term the Department of Health must focus its efforts on retaining staff and attracting qualified nurses to work in the HSC.

"This is made all the more difficult with Brexit looming in the coming months."