The British Medical Association (BMA) has come out in support of the Royal College of Nursing’s (RCN) vote in favour of industrial action in Northern Ireland.
The action is over the nurse staffing crisis and pay. This is the first time in the history of the organisation that RCN members have voted to take strike action.
The numbers were high, with 96% of those members who returned their ballot papers voting to take industrial action short of a strike, and 92% voting for strike action. The ballot involved RCN members working under Agenda for Change terms and conditions within Health and Social Care [HSC] in Northern Ireland.
In response to the RCN’s vote to take industrial action, Tom Black, chair of BMAs Northern Ireland Council, said: ‘The decision of RCN’s Northern Ireland members to vote overwhelmingly for strike action will not have been taken lightly. We respect and support their decision.
‘The BMA agrees with RCN’s serious concerns about staffing levels and their assertion that the current Northern Ireland nursing workforce is in crisis. Nursing staffing levels has a serious impact on service delivery and patient care as well as having a negative impact on the productivity of the medical workforce in many parts of the health and social care system.’
The RCN UK Council will meet early next week to approve plans to take forward industrial action, including strike action, across Health and Social Care services in Northern Ireland.