Northern Ireland

Nurses fear health cuts will endanger patients' lives

NHS hospital
Image caption The Royal College of Nursing says loss of beds and services in recent years stretched their ability to provide adequate patient care.

Nurses fear the cut in NI's block grant will put patients' lives at risk and impact on frontline services, it is claimed.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) said the loss of beds and services in recent years had stretched their ability to provide adequate patient care.

A spokesperson said hundreds of nurses had expressed their fears on the college's website.

She said the DHSSPS had estimated 1300 posts would be lost across the service.

Janice Smyth, director of the RCN in Northern Ireland, said: "However, as revealed by Health Minister Michael McGimpsey in the Assembly earlier this week, this could be the tip of the iceberg."

She said the RCN was concerned that fewer staff were being expected to deal with an ever-increasing number of patients, often with very complex needs.

"Inevitably, the consequences of having fewer staff will be felt on the front line," Ms Smyth said.

"We know all too well from examples such as Mid-Staffordshire Trust that if you cut back staffing levels to the bare bones, patients suffer and can be put in danger."

Ms Smyth said the RCN been in contact with hundreds of nurses through the Frontline First campaign website.

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