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DUP South Antrim MLA and Vice-Chair of the Assembly’s Health Committee Pam Cameron has called on the Health Minister to urgently address concerns that nurses undertaking additional responsibilities during the Covid-19 pandemic are not being paid appropriately.

Commenting after raising the issue with the Chief Nursing Officer on Thursday, Mrs Cameron said:

‘‘Throughout this public health crisis nursing and midwifery staff have formed the frontline in the fight against Covid-19. Many have received accelerated training before being placed into roles with extra duties or responsibilities in order to meet rising demand for services or to fill in for colleagues who may be ill, shielding or absent due to self-isolation requirements.

It would be wrong for this contribution to be overlooked or undervalued. Staff deserve to be rewarded for the job they are doing and this means receiving a remuneration at the appropriate pay band. If this pandemic has taught us anything it is that our NHS and care workers must not be taken for granted. I am therefore calling on the Health Minister to reflect the deep appreciation of the public by urgently reviewing pay arrangements for staff affected.

We are also mindful that these concerns have not developed overnight. One of the recent recommendations by the Nursing and Midwifery Taskforce is for DoH to ‘develop arrangements for accelerated pay progression in Band 5 to Band 6 grades’ to take account of the years of experience and additional responsibilities undertaken by Band 5 nurses.’ To date this has not been endorsed and we would press the Minister review this decision and take steps to promote greater fairness within pay structures going forward.’’