Northern Ireland

NI nurses' jobs not under threat says health minister

Image caption The RCN claims 500 nursing posts could be lost

The health minister has said nurses' jobs are not under threat because of spending cuts.

The Royal College of Nursing claimed up to 1,300 jobs in Northern Ireland could be cut in a bid to save money.

However, Michael McGimpsey said there were no plans to reduce nursing staff.

The figures were released as the RCN launched a UK-wide Frontline First campaign to highlight the threat to services.

It warned that up to 1,300 jobs would be cut in Northern Ireland, including about 500 nursing posts.

The Department of Health recently announced a 2% cut in the Health and Social care pay bill.

The RCN's director of nursing, Janice Smyth, said it was paramount that the health trusts engage with those delivering front line services as they know best where the efficiencies can be made.

The Health Department's policy of no longer using bank or agency staff means that increasingly nurses are not being replaced when gaps appear in a rota due to sickness or maternity, the RCN added.