Hundreds of services and appointments affected as nurses strike in Northern Ireland

Emergency departments are among the areas exempt from the industrial action Credit: Pacemaker

Hundreds of appointments and services across Northern Ireland have been affected as nurses take to the picket lines for the second time in a week due to an ongoing dispute over pay.

Health trusts have cancelled or postponed a range of procedures on Tuesday due to the 12-hour strike action by the Royal College of Nurses (RCN).

It comes after a 12-hour strike last Thursday across Northern Ireland, England and Wales.

Emergency departments are among the areas exempt from the industrial action.

The walkouts have however affected hundreds of patients across Northern Ireland.

In the Belfast Health Trust, some 175 new outpatient appointments, 289 outpatient reviews and 26 inpatient day cases were cancelled.

Nurses are taking the action over pay and safe staffing levels

The South Eastern Trust said 17 endoscopy investigations were postponed, 15 surgical procedures cancelled, 229 outpatient appointments cancelled and the minor injuries unit at Ards Hospital will be closed on Tuesday.

The Southern Trust said 204 outpatients appoints were cancelled, 28 day cases and nine inpatient appointments were cancelled, while 448 appointments would not go ahead within the older people and primary care division, and the minor injuries service at South Tyrone Hospital is closed on Tuesday.

Ministers say the salary rise demanded by unions is unaffordable Credit: Pacemaker

It said emergency departments at Craigavon Hospital and Daisy Hill in Newry will remain open, but are likely to be busy.

In the Western Trust some 515 outpatient appointments were postponed, and 37 planned inpatient and day case procedures were cancelled, and in the Northern Trust 154 outpatient appointments were affected.

Nurses are taking the action over pay and safe staffing levels.

The RCN has been calling for a pay rise of 5% above inflation, though it has indicated it would accept a lower offer.

The Government has implemented the recommendations of the independent pay review body, which gave nurses an increase of about 4.75%, with a guaranteed minimum of £1,400.

Health Secretary Steve Barclay has declined to discuss pay when meeting union officials but said his door is open to discuss other areas of nursing.

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