VITAL services for the sick and vulnerable must remain in place during today’s industrial action by Unison, Health Minister Edwin Poots has maintained.
Unison is staging 24-hour strike action from midnight on Tuesday. The Minister said, “My first concern remains with patients and clients and how they may be affected by the strike action that Unison has chosen to take.
“It is important that any disruption to our services is managed carefully and I know that Trusts have worked hard to achieve this. I have no doubt that there will be delays today and that not all patients who were due to receive non-urgent treatment will be seen. People who expected and deserved procedures to remove pain and discomfort will continue to suffer. Therefore, I find this strike highly regrettable.
“However, I am assured that staff will continue to work in our emergency departments and services, inpatient services will continue and that those people, who are among the most vulnerable, and rely on services in their own homes or in residential settings will continue to receive their treatment and care.
“I respect the democratic right of any trade union to take lawful industrial action, but strike action is unnecessarily disruptive to patients and staff. I would re-iterate that my door is always open and I am always prepared to talk to those who represent the healthcare workforce… that is how to get things resolved.”
Minister Poots added, “I fully appreciate the excellent work of our health service staff who work tirelessly to provide a high quality health service in very challenging times.”