Thirty paediatric nurses represented by Unison at Antrim Area Hospital have voted unanimously in favour of industrial action and overwhelmingly in favour of strike action in response to management’s attempt to coerce them into providing cover in the A&E department. It is widely recognised by healthcare professionals that children attending A&E units should be treated and supported by specialist A&E paediatric nurses.
Rather than recruit and train the necessary staff for this role, senior management from the Northern Health Trust saw an opportunity to cut costs. The nurses were so concerned that this would put children in both departments at risk that they considered staging an immediate walk-out in protest. Staff were further incensed at this cost-cutting exercise as the Trust has recently created a new Deputy Chief Executive position with a salary of up to £110,801!
The Northern Trust have stated they intend on pressing ahead with their dangerous plans. As we go to press, the nurses plan to strike on 19th November if there is no resolution and further action could follow. It is essential that all workers give unconditional support to these staff in maintaining the safety of the children in their care.