Nurses and midwives have a vital and central role to play in building a better health service, Minister Robin Swann has stressed.
The Health Minister was speaking at a launch event for International Year of the Nurse and Midwife.
This designation for 2020 was made by the World Health Organisation and International Council for Nurses.
For the first time in history, there will be a global celebration of the benefits that nursing and midwifery bring to the health of the population.
Speaking at the event in the Stormont Hotel the Minister said: “I stood with you on the picket line and now I am asking you to stand with me and work together to resolve all the issues before us.
“I am absolutely committed to tackling and resolving the difficulties that our health service is facing.
“I hope that the restoration of pay parity and my commitment to safe staffing levels goes some way to demonstrating my resolve.”
Addressing the audience of student nurses, nurses and midwives, Minister Swann also added his gratitude to the profession:
“I want to put on record my personal thanks to our nurses and midwives. I know first-hand of their unwavering commitment to providing the best care for their patients – often under difficult circumstances so thank you for all that you do.”
Attendees also heard from speakers including; Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General World Health Organization; Howard Catton, Chief Executive International Council Nurses and Midwives; and the Chief Nursing Officer for Northern Ireland, Professor Charlotte McArdle.
Outlining the importance of the International Year of Nurse and Midwife, Chief Nursing Officer Charlotte McArdle said:
“This is a once in a generation opportunity for us in Northern Ireland to raise the profile and status of nursing and midwifery and celebrate all that is good about our profession.
“I would like to welcome our 30 nursing and midwifery leaders who are embarking on the Nightingale Challenge Global Leadership Development Programme and also urge all of my colleagues across the profession to grasp the opportunities that the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife presents.”
Professor McArdle added: “Nurses and Midwives are the holders of hope, the voice of the vulnerable and the champions of change. Nurses and midwives do amazing things every day and I am immensely proud of our profession, have always been proud to be a nurse and proud of the work nurses do every day and the outcomes you achieve.”
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