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Cuts could lead to over 1,300 job losses in NHS

By Lisa Smyth

More than 1,300 jobs could be at risk in the Northern Ireland health service as a result of cutbacks and efficiency targets— and that’s even before the recently announced cutbacks kick in.

Diane Taylor, head of human resources at the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, has admitted the equivalent of up to 1,300 posts could go across the health service as bosses try to make savings of £113.5m this year.

And with nurses making up about 36% of the workforce, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has warned the equivalent of 500 nursing posts could go.

Under the revised spending plan to make the savings, trusts are being expected to find £40m from payroll costs by reviewing overtime and their use of agency, bank and locum staff.

As it launches its UK-wide Frontline First campaign to highlight the threat to health and social care services, leading nursing union the RCN has warned of the impact on patient care as the number of staff working in hospitals here is expected to drop dramatically.

“The feedback we are getting from our members is that they are working under unprecedented pressure,” said Janice Smyth, RCN Northern Ireland director.

Her comments come as Northern Ireland waits to hear whether the Executive has decided which departments will be expected to contribute to £128m cuts being imposed on the province.

She said: “We are realistic about the need to find financial savings in the health and social care service. Frontline nurses know where efficiencies can be made and trusts should therefore engage with staff to ensure better care.”

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