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Embargoed until 00.01 Monday, 19 May 2003

NORTHERN IRELAND HEALTH VISITORS ‘POOR RELATIONS’ OVER COMPUTER USE - CPHVA SURVEY

Health visitors and community nurses in Northern Ireland are ‘the poor relations’ when it comes to having computers, e-mail and internet access at work - compared with colleagues in the rest of the UK.

A new survey by the Community Practitioners’ and Health Visitors’ Association today (19 May ) reveals that Northern Ireland community nurses badly lagging behind in the health informatics revolution and that if they had the full range of IT equipment it would ‘significantly’ boost their job performance.

The survey shows that only 25% community nurses in Northern Ireland have a computer in their workplace compared with a UK average of 80%. Email access is 25% compared with national average of 60%; internet 19% compared with 59%.

The CPHVA’s Professional Officer for Northern Ireland, Briege Coyle said: ‘The survey results make woeful reading and shows that Northern Ireland community nurses are, indeed, the ‘poor relations’. I don’t think the situation is helped by the current unsettled political situation which makes long-term planning problematical.’

‘And what is even more depressing is the very slow progress that has been made since our last survey in June 2001. For example, there is a case where one of our members is not scheduled to have access to a computer until 2006.’

The CPHVA’s director, Mark Jones said: ‘Northern Ireland comes out of this survey particularly badly and I would urge the health authorities to make strenuous efforts to catch up with the rest of the UK where the picture is not great, but comparatively hopeful compared with Northern Ireland.’

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NOTE TO NEWS EDITORS

A copy of the survey can be found on our website: amicus-cphva.org

For further information, please contact:

Mark Jones ( 07768 737773

Briege Coyle ( 07733 124208

Shaun Noble Communications Officer ( (020) 7939 7043

mobile ( 07768 69 39 40

CPHVA press releases can be seen on the CPHVA website: amicus-cphva.org

The CPHVA represents health visitors, school nurses, practice nurses and registered nurses working in the community in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The CPHVA is an autonomous professional section of the amicus trade union. MSF joined with the AEEU to form amicus, the UK’s second largest union, on 1 January 2002. Amicus has more than 60,000 members working in the health sector.

NOTE FOR NEWS DESKS

For further information, please contact

Shaun Noble Press Officer (020) 7939 7043 Mobile 0468 69 39 40 MSF

press releases can be seen on our web site: www.amcius-cphva.org.uk

Amicus/MSF represents 65,000 health service professionals including the Guild of Healthcare Pharmacists, laboratory scientific staff, the College of Health Care Chaplains, the Community Psychiatric Nurses Association, the Medical Practitioners' Union, clinical psychologists, speech therapists, the Hospital Physicists Association and the Community Practitioners' and Health Visitors' Association.

Amicus/MSF has 400,000 skilled and professional members in a wide range of industries. It is the UK's second largest union.

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