Health Minister appeals to “anyone with the skills and experience to support the delivery of surgery to come forward”
Minister Swann said: “Our health service and our health workforce are under pressure like never before. Ongoing pressures from hospitals have a critical impact on our ability to maintain planned services. We are seeing major surgeries canceled every week due to the need to redeploy staff to meet unforeseen demand.
“As the winter period approaches, an increasing number of patients are likely to require urgent or emergency care. At the same time, we continue to face stubbornly high rates of COVID cases requiring hospitalization. In practice, this means that while our hospitals are under massive pressure and we have thousands of patients waiting for treatment, there are empty wards with no staff to provide the service.
“So I am appealing to anyone with the skills and experience to support the delivery of surgery to come forward to help us ensure that as many patients as possible can receive the treatment they need. this winter.”
Mr Swann also asked the chief nursing officer to lead work on an initiative to support and retain nurses and midwives. A regional steering group is being established to focus on current recruitment and retention issues.
“Nurses and midwives constitute the largest group of health workers, comprising one-third of our health and social care (HSC) workforce, and they are essential to the delivery of sustainable services. They have given so much during this pandemic and we must do all we can to support them. This is why I asked the head nurse to implement a regional retention initiative, to solve the most immediate problems, ”he added.
The new call is aimed in particular at fully qualified and recently retired staff, as well as those recently qualified and not currently working at HSC.
People from a wide range of personnel categories are needed, including doctors, anesthetics, nurses (theater, recovery and room experience will be essential), pharmacists and porters, for a temporary period of time. ‘about six months.
Those who come forward will be assigned to elective surgery centers through the trusts where planned surgery can safely continue throughout this winter. These centers will strive to maintain as many elective surgeries as possible over the next few months.
Minister Swann continued: “The scale of waiting lists in Northern Ireland is already a crisis for the health service. If this winter continues as it started, the pressures will be even greater and it will have a serious impact on patients awaiting surgery.
“So we have to continue with the surgery during what could be the most difficult time our health service has ever faced. If you see the appeal and think you have these skills, then we need your help to make sure that as many patients as possible can get the treatment they need this winter.
Workforce appeal campaigns since April 2020 have reached a combined aggregate recruiting total of 4,127, of which over 2,700 are health and social service appointments.