In Northern Ireland, nursing and midwifery vacancies have increased by 80% since 2017, with more than 2,900 jobs actively being recruited since October 2019.
As a result of the vacant posts, spending on agency staff has hit record levels costing nearly £640,000 per day.
There are currently 122 midwifery vacancies in Northern Ireland.
The data, published in the Department of Health’s latest workforce bulletin, comes shortly after the RCM board announced they would ballot their Northern Ireland members over pay and midwife shortages.
RCM’s Director for Northern Ireland, Karen Murray, said: “The RCM has not taken the decision to ballot our members lightly, but after eight months of talks with the Department of Health a fair and decent resolution for our members cannot be found.
“The Department of Health must understand the RCM and other unions are willing to negotiate, but they must accept pay parity with the rest of the UK for our members is crucial if we are to avoid industrial action in health and social care services in Northern Ireland.”
Other main workforce vacancies include 990 admin and clerical staff and 454 support services.
In the 12 months to April this year the cost of agency or temporary workers totalled £201,298,475.
Nursing and midwifery agency fees came to £52 million in 2018/19, which is double the amount spent in 2016/17 (£23.5 million).
“We should be doing all we can to make midwifery as a profession more attractive in order to retain and recruit staff and paying them less than they deserve will not achieve this,” Karen Murray added.
Source: Belfast Telegraph
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