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Statement from the Chief Executives of the Health and Social Care Trusts in Northern Ireland

3rd December 2019

We have today advised the Permanent Secretary of the DoH that we are taking all necessary steps to assess the risks arising from Industrial Action, in respect of quality of care and patient safety.

We will, as far as is possible, mitigate such risks but given the extent and scope of the action that is now unfolding, we believe a significant risk to patient safety is likely.

We recognise the dedication and commitment of all our staff and also respect their right to take industrial action.  However, the level of escalation, in what is only week two, is causing us real concern with regard to service continuity during what is already a very demanding period.

We are all aware that HSC in Northern Ireland requires a long-term funding settlement that addresses service, workforce and pay pressures in a sustainable manner.

We have been struggling with a system where funding has been made available on a yearly basis, which makes it impossible to plan for the long term. Demand is increasing and will continue to do so meaning that the current system is simply unsustainable.

Given the immediate risk arising from the industrial action, it is essential that we find a means of resolving the dispute in the short term.  We accept that this is not possible without ministerial intervention and further resource.

We now all need to urgently find a resolution to the current dispute.

Yours sincerely,


Michael Bloomfield,

Chief Executive,

NIAS Trust


Shane Devlin

Chief Executive,

Southern Health and Social Care Trust.


Martin Dillon,

Chief Executive,

Belfast Health and Social Care Trust


Anne Kilgallen,

Chief Executive

Western Health and Social Care Trust


Seamus McGoran,

Interim Chief Executive,

South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust


Tony Stevens,

Chief Executive,

Northern Health and Social Care Trust