Sinn Féin MLA Colm Gildernew has welcomed the publication of the Audit Office report in workforce planning for Nurses and Midwives.
The report, completed before the Coronavirus crisis, found that current spending on agency workers ‘does not provide good value for money’ and that poor workforce planning was not meeting demand for nurses and midwives.
Speaking after the publication of the report the party’s Health spokesperson said:
“The Audit Office report reaffirms the ongoing concerns that safe staffing levels and high rates of vacancy is contributing to growing challenges and pressures on health services.
“I know for many this report will be deeply distressing, including staff who I am sure will be concerned by the finding that in 2018/19 13.2% of staffing costs for nurses and midwives was spent on temporary staff.
“The rising agency spend, the cuts to training budgets and training places shows that the lasting impact of austerity continues to challenge the delivery of health and social care services today.
“However, the problems are well documented and there needs to be a shift to developing meaningful solutions.
“The Minister for Health needs to progress the recommendations identified within the Audit Office report and work with staff and trade unions to address workforce concerns, including safe staffing levels.
“This was a commitment already made to staff by the minister in concluding the HSC strike earlier this year.
“There will be no meaningful transformation of the health service without investing in staff and services.
“The public deserves this and so do all health and social care workers.”