Concrete action needed on workforce planning for nurses – Bradshaw

Alliance’s health spokesperson Paula Bradshaw MLA has called for immediate concrete action to address the number of vacant nursing posts across Northern Ireland.

Ms Bradshaw was speaking during an assembly debate on the pressures in the health system caused by a shortage of nurses. Paula Bradshaw said: “The nursing profession is one of many areas of our health service where workforce planning has been inadequate for some time. Here in Northern Ireland our nurse training is among the very best in the world and there is good provision of continuous professional development and return to nursing courses.

“It is hard to disagree with the recommendations of the Workforce Plan for Nursing and Midwifery published last year, that there is a need for a strategic approach, a review of the independent sector as well as proper forecasting and the introduction of Advanced Practice programmes. But even that plan contained a lot of calls for reviews and considerations, when what is required is concrete action. Of course, what is needed to back up all plans is the adequate commitment of resources.

“The potential implications of Brexit on the health service cannot be underestimated. Clearly the health service cannot function without foreign workers doing such a good job. Our nurses, irrespective of where they come from, do a terrific job and make an immense contribution to the people of Northern Ireland.

“I support the call for a greater emphasis on better workforce planning, but to support this we need increased resources to deliver direct, visible outcomes.”

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