The heads of all of Northern Ireland’s health trusts have stated the current crisis in the service has been “years in the making”.
It comes ahead of the first ever strike by nurses in Northern Ireland on Wednesday.
A joint statement has been issued by the heads of the five regional healthcare trusts, as well as the head of the ambulance service.
The head of the Health and Social Care Board is also a signatory.
Industrial action is being taken by health workers in Northern Ireland in a dispute over pay and working conditions.
The latest information on exemptions to strike action can be found on the Health and Social Care Board website.
‘Workers are not taking action lightly’
“Funding has been increasingly stretched year on year, while demand for care has risen and will continue to do so,” the statement from the health trusts reads.
“Political and budgetary uncertainties have exacerbated the situation.”
Health bosses acknowledge in the letter that workers taking the action “are not doing so lightly”.
It adds the situation with industrial action is made more challenging by a “significant rise in emergency department attendances and hospital admissions”.
In what is set to be a challenging day for Northern Ireland’s healthcare services, on Wednesday paramedics, nurses, and other healthcare workers will take strike action.
Nurses are set to strike for 12 hours on Wednesday, following on from previous industrial action which has stopped short of a strike.
Paramedics are also set to take 24-hour strike action.
The last number of weeks has seen industrial action taken by other healthcare workers in Northern Ireland.