More funding will be put into training student nurses in Northern Ireland after concerns that the current education budget was inadequate were raised by the RCN.
Edwin Poots, the health minister for Northern Ireland, said that an additional £300,000 had been made available for post-registration education this year.
He said: ‘I am pleased to announce this funding package, which will be used to support the development of nurses to deliver high-quality care into the future.'
Additionally, a series of nursing workforce reviews will be carried out. These reviews will include a new workforce plan for nurses and midwives to ensure that they are best placed to support the delivery of safe and effective care.
A separate review will be undertaken to maximise the role of nurses, particularly community nurses.
Key performance indicators will be explored to minimise the use of bank and agency staff.
A skill mix review will be carried out within nursing teams to ensure that as the profile and setting of care changes all grades of staff will be appropriately used and supported.
Janice Smyth, the director of the RCN in Northern Ireland, said: ‘The issues that the RCN recently raised with the Minister reflect a range of concerns related to the nursing workforce in Northern Ireland that have been highlighted by our members. The RCN is grateful to the Minister for listening to our concerns and for putting in place a series of measures that will address them. The RCN looks forward to working in partnership with the Chief Nursing Officer and other Departmental officials to deliver the project plan and associated action plan. In this way, we can help to deliver our shared aim of providing the very best nursing care for the people of Northern Ireland.'
A project plan and associated action plan for these work streams are being drawn up by the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety.