Northern Ireland’s nurses have begun a further 48 hours of industrial action, as they press for pay parity with the rest of the UK and for improved staffing levels.
They are refusing to do things like working overtime shifts, working unpaid hours and answering phones on wards.
On Monday, the Belfast Trust cancelled hundreds of outpatient appointments as health workers’ action continues.
The trust says all appointments scheduled on Tuesday should go ahead.
However, some day centres will be closed. The trust says it has contacted anyone affected by the closures.
The latest information on disruptions and cancellations is available on the Health and Social Care website.
The Department of Health has said it was disappointed that unions last week turned down a pay offer involving an extra £28m a year.
System ‘at point of collapse’
Tuesday’s industrial action by Royal College of Nursing members comes a week after a 24-hour protest in which they refused to do any work that was not directly related to patient care.
The RCN said it has about 16,000 members in Northern Ireland, where some 17,000 nurses and 5,000 nursing support workers are employed in total.
In November, nurses voted to take part in strike action for the first time in the 103-year history of the RCN union.
Health workers have said they are unhappy about pay and claim staffing levels are “unsafe”.
The Royal College of Surgeons warned late last month that Northern Ireland’s healthcare system was “at the point of collapse”.
Unions rejected a new pay offer by the Department of Health last week because it did not reach parity with staff in England.
On Monday, it was announced that Unison nurses at Londonderry’s Altnagelvin Hospital had joined the industrial action.
The Belfast Health Trust said all hospital surgeries, inpatient and outpatient appointments on Tuesday and Wednesday would take place as planned apart from outpatient appointments at the School of Dentistry.
The following day centres will be closed on Tuesday from 09:00 GMT until 13:00 GMT:
- Knockbracken Day Centre
- Carlisle Day Centre
- Everton Day Centre
- Edgcumbe Resource Centre
- Suffolk Day Centre
- Fallswater Day Centre
- Mount Oriel (Learning Disability service users only)
- Ravenhill Day Centre
- Everton Day Centre
- Whiterock Day Centre
Community day services in north and west Belfast will also not operate.
The following day centres will be providing a limited service from 09:00 until 13:00.
- Beechall Day Centre
- Enler Day Centre
- Edgcumbe ATU Centre
On Monday, Unison’s Joe McCusker said many nurses were on the picket line between 08:00 until 14:00, but those working in cancer services and “red flag” surgeries would continue to work during the action.
Mr McCusker called for patients to “bear with us” during the workers’ action in order for the pay and staffing issues to be resolved.
Richard Pengelly, the permanent secretary at the Department of Health, said he was disappointed the pay offer – which involved an extra £28m – was turned down last week.
Unison said the offer fell short of what it and other unions had asked for.