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Listen to the voice of nursing

Fiona Devlin 7 Apr 2022

Northern Ireland enters this Assembly election in the midst of yet another political crisis.

More than ever, we need strong, committed and accountable political leadership for our health and social care services. However, the collapse of the Executive in February means that, once again, this over-riding priority is not being given the full attention it deserves by those who have been elected to serve the people of Northern Ireland. This is unforgiveable. No political priority is more important than ensuring that we are able to meet the health and social care needs of our citizens and our communities.


This election, therefore, gives the people of Northern Ireland the chance to send a clear message to politicians about the importance of focusing on health and social care. As the largest workforce group within this system, nursing has a leading role to play in rebuilding services and targeting the deep health inequalities that exist here. In order to enable nurses to fulfil this role, politicians and policy-makers must stop viewing nursing as a cost to be controlled and reduced and must, instead, see it as an asset to be valued and supported. Our manifesto sets out some important ways in which this can be done.


The crisis in our health and social care system has many underlying causes but is rooted more than anything in the fact that there are not enough nurses and other health care staff to provide the right level of care for the people of Northern Ireland. Building an effective nursing workforce is not something that will happen by chance. It requires planning, monitoring and delivery, and sustainable funding. Above all, it needs strong and accountable political leadership. The greatest challenge for the next Assembly and Executive is to deliver a nursing workforce capable of meeting the health needs of the people of Northern Ireland. If we don’t act now, the consequences will be unimaginable.


To our members, we implore you to use your voice in this election. Nurses’ votes will be crucial in determining the outcome, so please make sure that you have your say. To our politicians, we ask you to reflect on the issues set out in this manifesto, listen to the voice of nursing, and make sure that you deliver for nursing staff and the people of Northern Ireland. In that way, we can all work together to build a health and social care service of which we - and the people we are all here to serve - can be proud.


Fiona Devlin

Fiona Devlin

RCN Northern Ireland Board Chair

Page last updated - 11/04/2022