When nurses in Northern Ireland vote overwhelmingly to go on strike, it confirms the depth of the economic and political crisis we are in.
There are currently almost 2,500 nursing vacancies in health trusts and a similar number in the private sector. Taking industrial action is a situation that has been forced upon the nursing community as they rightly pursue parity of pay with colleagues across the NHS and seek safe staffing levels.
All five main parties in Northern Ireland are collectively to blame. The Northern Ireland Executive broke pay parity in 2014 – a decision subsequently confirmed by successive health minsters.
The media and others claim that strike action puts patents at risk. The stark reality is that patients are already at risk and staff and services are at breaking point.
Nothing is more important than the health and well-being of citizens and the safe delivery of a public health and social care service.
Supporting the striking health care workers and their demands for pay party and safe staffing levels is a demonstration of support for the NHS.