RCN: Northern Ireland

Education & Societies

What if ... nurses felt valued?

The RCN in Northern Ireland is campaigning for fair pay and fair treatment for nurses. RCN Northern Ireland Director Janice Smyth explained: “Last year, the independent NHS Pay Review Body recommended that nurses should get a 1% cost of living increase for 2014-2015. The DHSSPS said that it had budgeted for this. The Northern Ireland Executive has not yet honoured this commitment. The RCN believes that this is outrageous and unfair. The 1% increase recommended by the independent NHS Pay Review Body should have been paid from April this year. The RCN feels that we have given the Northern Ireland Executive plenty of time to meet its commitments. It failed to take that opportunity and our members have now had enough.” The campaign focuses on three clear objectives; respect for the independent NHS Pay Review Body, awarding nurses their recommended 1% pay rise, and making sure we have enough nurses to care for patients.

Find out more here: http://frontlinefirst.rcn.org.uk/whatif/page/get-involved

“Christian principles” will guide new Health Minister

New Health Minister Jim Wells told the BBC this week that he is not prepared to abandon his religious principles when formulating health policy. The Minister said: “I’m not one of those people that leaves my personal views at the door of the Assembly, but obviously I’m here to do what’s best for Northern Ireland. But I also believe, for instance, that protecting the unborn child, supporting the concept of marriage, I think things like that are actually best for society, as well as my own personal views. So, I don’t think there’s any ultimate conflict between the two.”

Meanwhile, the Irish News reported this week that advice provided by the Chief Medical Officer to former Health Minister Edwin Poots on the issue of gay men donating blood is being deliberately withheld by the DHSSPS on the grounds that it is “not in the public interest” to disclose it until the associated legal process has concluded. Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK that continues to operate a ban on gay men donating blood, a decision ruled to be “irrational” and in breach of the Ministerial Code by a High Court judge earlier this year. An appeal against this ruling launched by the former Minister is scheduled to be heard in January 2015.

The district nursing service: transformation or fragmentation?

Demands on district nursing services are increasing across Northern Ireland. The RCN believes that additional investment is required in order to meet these increasing demands. Transforming your Care sets the strategic direction of a shift in the focus of service provision from acute hospitals towards community settings. The RCN Northern Ireland Community Nursing Network is holding a conference entitled The district nursing service: transformation or fragmentation? to explore all these issues in greater detail. The conference will focus upon current pressures on frontline district nursing services and review the extent to which commissioning and provider organisations are ensuring that district nursing services across Northern Ireland are fit to meet current and future demands.

The conference takes place at the RCN, 17 Windsor Avenue, Belfast on 14 November 2014 from 10.00am to 4.40pm. Keynote speakers include Chief Nursing Officer Charlotte McArdle, Dr Crystal Oldman of the Queen’s Nursing Institute, and Pamela McCreedy of the Health and Social Care Board. The network is keen to hear views and/or personal stories, both positive and negative, from district nurses that can be anonymised and incorporated into a presentation at the conference. Please contact Clare McHugh from the RCN Corporate Support Team at clare.mchugh@rcn.org.uk or by telephone on 028 90 384 600 to submit your story or for further information about the conference.