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Paediatric nurses in strike ballot over ward safety fears in Northern Ireland

Nurses in Antrim threaten action over plans to divert registered staff from children's ward

Children’s nurses at a hospital in Northern Ireland are threatening to strike over plans they say could endanger their patients.

The Northern Health and Social Care Trust plans to divert nurses from Antrim Area Hospital paediatric ward to work in the children’s emergency unit.

Strike ballots were issued today and more than 150 Unison members are expected to back industrial action.

Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said: ‘Something is deeply wrong when nurses feel they have no alternative but to call for a strike ballot to protect children from clinical risk.’

A Northern Trust spokesperson said: ‘The proposals will enhance the current high quality service by using all our skilled and trained children’s nurses to provide acute and emergency services. We are confident our registrant nursing workforce are skilled, qualified and equipped to work in all areas.’

Alex Easton, Democrat Unionist Party deputy chair of the Stormont health committee said if nurses ‘are expressing concerns and are unhappy about the safety of patients, then we should be listening to them’.

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