Northern Ireland’s health regulator has formally notified the health department there is a serious nursing shortage across hospital and community services.
It is the first time the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority has issued such a notice.
It was its duty to inform the department, it said, after identifying a number of failings in almost every area it had inspected.
The department said it acknowledged that there is a shortage.
Olive Macleod, the RQIA’s chief executive, said a serious nursing shortage was leading to “less effective care for patients”.