Northern Ireland news

Yet another plea for nursing staff to help Belfast Trust cope with Covid pressure

Covid pressures at Belfast Health Trust hospitals have prompted an urgent plea by bosses to all nursing staff. Picture by Hugh Russell.
Paul Ainsworth

Health minister Robin Swann has made a request for military assistance at the north's hospitals as Covid leaves the health service "under pressure as never before".

Mr Swann's call follows pleas by health trusts for nursing staff to assist as pressure mounts in Covid wards.

Yesterday the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust made an urgent plea for all nursing staff to come into work

The call for help follows a similar plea last weekend for trust nursing staff, both registered and unregistered, to take on extra shifts.

The trust also made a plea for staff to assist in July.

An "urgent plea to all nursing staff" was issued yesterday, asking them to "work additional hours to support the wards and unscheduled care pressures".

Those attending to work were told they will receive the Covid enhanced rate of pay.

"Help is needed as early as this afternoon, evening, tonight and in the coming days," the message continued, before asking both registered and unregistered nursing staff to contact management.

Earlier this week, the Western Health and Social Care Trust issued a similar plea to nurses due to "extreme pressure" in Derry's Altnagelvin Hospital, where there was "an increasing number of sick patients".

The Belfast Health and Social Care Trust could not be reached for comment last night.

The health minister's call for military assistance was made "to activate any measure that can alleviate the situation in any way" he explained.

"The current situation is different to the pressures in the earlier stages of the pandemic," he said.

"We have the ongoing and serious Covid threat combined with a growing pressure cooker environment right across health and social care. Staff are exhausted, having been facing the pandemic and its repercussions day in, day out, month in, month out, for the best part of two years."

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