Press release issued on behalf of the Psychaitric Nurses Association:
Saturday, 20 July 2019 - The Psychiatric Nurses Association Ambulance Personnel Branch reports a total disregard of contingency planning for the national ambulance service during the 24-hour strike by ambulance members of the PNA in pursuit of their demand for recognition of their union, the PNA. Reports from across the country confirm that the HSE is disregarding contingency arrangements whereby HSE managers and members of other unions who are not on strike respond to emergency calls ahead of PNA members for the duration of the strike action which commenced yesterday (Friday) at 2 pm for a 24-hour period. The PNA report that at the two ambulance service control centres for the entire country, staff have not been informed of contingency plans and the HSE is continuing to allocate emergency calls to PNA members while they are on strike.
Following intensive discussions with senior officials from the HSE in relation to members not making themselves available to work beyond their contracted hours, the PNA have agreed to suspend their current instruction on the basis that progress has been made in respect on the following issues:
• There has been significant progress in relation to proceeding with the recruitment of Mental Health Nursing Approved Posts ;
Wednesday 10 th July : The Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) said from tomorrow (Thursday) psychiatric nurses will work only their contracted hours in response to the lack of any meaningful progress in five months of talks to resolve the growing recruitment and retention crisis in mental health services.
PNA General Secretary, Peter Hughes said nurses are irate and frustrated that they must revert to working only contracted hours having suspended their strike action five months ago on the clear understanding that the HSE was ready to offer substantial solutions to finally address the crisis in recruitment and retention.
‘Over the past five months of talks which have made little if any progress, nurses have shown extraordinary patience as they watch the mental health services struggle with staff shortages. In some services, these shortages amount to over 20% and overall nationally we know that there are 700 vacancies in mental health services. This is not sustainable in a vital area of our health care where demand is growing all the time.'
An NEC was held yesterday 08 th July 2019 in relation to our members not making themselves available to work hours above their contracted hours.
The following decisions were made at the NEC:
• Our members will not make themselves available for hours above their contracted hours from the commencement of the day shift on Thursday July 11th. This will continue for the duration of the day shift (e.g. 8pm) on Thursday July 11th.
• Our members will not make themselves available for hours above their contracted hours from the commencement of the day shift on Friday July 12th and will continue thereafter on a 24-hour basis.