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There are 857 front line health care vacancies across the Southern Health and Social Care Trust. That's according to a investigation by MLA Justin McNulty who also pointed out that there are 5,654 vacancies across the entire  NI Health Service.

Mr McNulty is seeking an urgent meeting with the Chief Executive of the Southern Health and Social Care Trust to establish the full impact locally and to find out what actions are being taken to address the issue.

Over 857 posts are vacant over the Southern Trust area.
Over 857 posts are vacant over the Southern Trust area.

"Just last week I contacted the Permanent Secretary at the Department of Health seeking a comprehensive breakdown of the number of vacancies across the health service here.  Recently Valarie Watts of the Health and Social Care Board told a Westminster Committee that there were 1,800 unfilled health jobs in Northern Ireland but now the Permanent Secretary has confirmed it is much worse with over 5,654 vacancies being reported across the system with 857 of those being local.

"Our Health service is in serious trouble, staff are over stretched and the system under resourced.  This cannot continue and urgent action is needed from the very top.  Of those 857 local vacancies, 263 nurses are needed and 204 Social Care / Domiciliary Care Workers are needed.  These are the staff on the front line and are the most critical to the survival of our health service."

The MLA added "The figures show that 94% of the vacancies are front line posts across the professions like nurses, doctors or consultants, whereas only 6% of vacancies are administrative or clerical."

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