Health Minister welcomes Unison and RCN's decision

Date published: 16 January 2020

Health Minister Robin Swann has warmly welcomed announcements by health unions, Unison and RCN suspending industrial action.

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The Minister said: “This has been a very difficult time but I believe everyone across the health and social care system can now move forward together.

“Today’s announcements will be welcomed by many – not least by patients and of course staff who took industrial action with a very heavy heart.

“I want to again pay a heartfelt tribute to our nurses and other health workers and the great work they do. Only yesterday, we saw figures showing that the number of compliments in our health service far outnumbers the number of complaints.

“This illustrates the great health care that is provided day and daily across Northern Ireland, despite all the serious problems facing the system. I recognise, of course, that there is still a lot of work to be done.”

The Minister added: “My personal thanks go to everyone involved in yesterday’s intensive discussions on finalising an agreement.

“I also want place on record my appreciation of the hard work done by Department of Health officials. As I said in the Assembly, this whole situation not only put our health workers in an invidious position but our officials too.

“It needed a Minister and an Executive to secure a resolution, and I am delighted that we have achieved it in our first week.

“The Chief Nursing Officer, Professor Charlotte McArdle, has provided invaluable input on getting this agreement across the line, demonstrating her strong commitment to the profession.”

Notes to editors: 

1. The figures on compliments outnumbering complaints came from the latest Health Survey (NI).

Of respondents who had been in contact with the health and social care system in the year, almost three-fifths (56%) had given a compliment to staff or the organisation. The majority of compliments were given verbally with 6% of all those who had been in contact giving a written compliment and/or gift.

This compares with 5% of respondents that reported making a complaint about their care or treatment (1% had made a written complaint).

2. For media enquiries please contact DoH Press Office on 02890520579 or email . For out-of-hours please contact the Duty Press Officer on 028 9037 8110. 

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