The Latest from RCN Northern Ireland

Education & Societies

New RCN Northern Ireland Mental Health Network launched

A new RCN Northern Ireland network to raise the profile of mental health nursing and support the work of mental health nurses has been launched. The network will link with the work of the RCN UK Mental Health Forum.

RCN UK professional lead for mental health nursing Ian Hulatt was a guest speaker at the launch event on Thursday 14 April. He said that the new network will support and advise nurses in navigating changes to legislation, particularly those set out in the Mental Capacity Bill, which completed its final stages in the Northern Ireland Assembly last month.

Ian said:

“Mental health nurses who are facing big changes in Northern Ireland will benefit from a mental health network and can discuss how new legislation will be delivered in practice”.

Further information about the  Network is available from Senior Professional Development Officer Rosaline Kelly

028 90 384 600.

NUS-USI calls for nursing student bursaries to rise in line with inflation

The National Union of Students-Union of Students in Ireland [NUS-USI] has called for student nursing and midwifery bursaries in Northern Ireland to increase annually in line with inflation.

NUS-USI President Fergal McFerran said:

“It is essential that the financial support our students receive is reflective of their everyday cost of living. Whilst I welcome the extra training places announced recently, I feel uncomfortable with the prospect that these extra 100 students will be struggling to cover their basic living costs, like many students already do. Many nursing students are finding it very difficult to pay their bills, and the pressure that they face due to their financial situation is extremely troubling. Nursing and midwifery students play a key role. The work that they carry out while they are on placement plays an important function in keeping our hospitals running effectively. Nursing and midwifery students should be rewarded for the important role they play in the NHS as students on work placement, and we believe that inflationary rises in the bursary is the very least they deserve.”

RCN manifesto for the Northern Ireland Assembly elections

TheRCNNI Assembly election manifesto is available at:

The RCN is encouraging members to refer to it in their engagement with candidates in order to highlight the priorities for nurses and nursing over the next five years. The manifesto addresses the need for political consensus on the reform and modernisation of health and social care, and putting the public health agenda at the heart of government.

It outlines the need to support the work of the Expert Panel chaired by Professor Rafael Bengoa on the remodelling of health and social care, and the work of the new Nursing Task Group ( announced recently by the Health Minister. The RCN is also calling for the restoration of partnership working between the DHSSPS, employers and staff organisations, and the need to secure fair pay for Northern Ireland nurses.

RCN Northern Ireland Director Janice Smyth appeared on BBC Northern Ireland television programme The View on Thursday 14 April 2016. Janice was invited to ask a question to the panel, which included Health Minister Simon Hamilton of the Democratic Unionist Party and SDLP health spokesperson Fearghal McKinney. Janice’s question focused on the need to engage nurses and other health professionals in the reform and modernisation of health and social care.