The Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) said today (Thursday , 13th Dec.) that the planned one day strike by PNA ambulance personnel members (including paramedics, advanced paramedics and emergency medical technicians) which was to take place on Wednesday 19th December has been deferred to Tuesday 22nd January .
PNA is now seeking an urgent referral to the WRC on both the substantive issue of the continued refusal by the HSE to engage in negotiations with the PNA when representing its ambulance branch, and the refusal of the HSE to negotiate contingency plans for industrial action by ambulance personnel.
Thursday, 29 th Nov.: The Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) said today (Thurs. 29 th Nov.) that its ambulance personnel members (including paramedics, advanced paramedics and emergency medical technicians) will hold a one day national strike on Wednesday 19 th December in pursuit of their right to be represented by the trade union of their choice.
The one-day national strike by the PNA's 500 ambulance personnel members is the third phase of industrial action which commenced on October 10 th in protest at the continued refusal by the HSE to engage in negotiations with the PNA when representing its ambulance branch, or to make payroll deductions of union subscriptions for PNA ambulance personnel members. The national strike will commence at 7 a.m. on Wednesday 19 th . December and run until 5 p.m. that day.
PNA General Secretary, Peter Hughes said the strike was a serious escalation in a dispute which is entirely of the HSE's making and which PNA have repeatedly asked the HSE to resolve.
Thursday. 22 nd Nov.: The Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) said today (Thurs. 22 nd Nov.) its ambulance personnel members are determined to continue their overtime ban in pursuit of their right to be represented by the trade union of their choice and warned that the dispute could escalate.
PNA said that despite HSE denials, there is clear evidence that ambulance services are being put under enormous pressure on a daily basis throughout the country as a result of the overtime ban by PNA's 500 ambulance personnel members.
PNA ambulance personnel branch officers met on Monday and committed to continue their action in protest at the denial of their fundamental right to be members of the union of their choice and not of a union that the HSE wants to force them to join.
Peter Hughes PNA General Secretary said it was important for the public to be aware that the ambulance services nationally have been operating in crisis mode in recent weeks.
‘The reckless and intransigence position of the HSE in its continued refusal to engage in negotiations with the PNA when representing its ambulance branch , or to make payroll deductions of union subscriptions for PNA ambulance personnel members has resulted in ambulance services being stretched to the limit in recent weeks since the overtime ban commenced on November 7th.'
Examples of this are:
Ambulance crews were down by 50% on a number of occasions in Cork.
On one evening last week the ambulance fleet in the S.E. of the country was operating with six of its 11 ambulance fleet due to the inability of management to fill rosters.
HSE has been redeploying Rapid Response Vehicles (RRV) for use as ambulances though these vehicles are not suited for this purpose.
Staff are being rescheduled from training to crew ambulances where crews are refusing overtime.
Since the weekend, crews have been reduced and shifts not covered in Dublin, Dundalk, Drogheda, Naas, Maynooth, Ballina, Mulranny, Castleblayney, Tullamore, Mullingar and Portlaoise.
HSE is relying on some non-PNA staff to work back-to-back shifts with obvious implications for health and safety.
Following a special meeting today (Thursday, 15th Nov.) of its National Executive Committee NEC) the Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) is to ballot its members for industrial action, up to and including strike, The NEC is recommending in favour of industrial action in the ballot which will commence next Wednesday (21st Nov.)
Peter Hughes , PNA General Secretary , said today's NEC outcome reflected the disappointment by mental health nurses that the recent Public Service Pay Commission Report had failed completely to understand the scale of the recruitment and retention crisis in the mental health services and their frustration at the continued lack of realistic proposals to address nurse recruitment and retention.
Friday, November 9 th : The Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) said today (Friday, 9 th. Nov) that there has been significant disruption to ambulance services throughout the country since the implementation of an overtime ban by its 500 ambulance personnel members on Wednesday last (Nov. 7 th ) .
The overtime ban in part of the Phase 2 of industrial action (which began on Oct.10 th ) in protest at continued refusal of the HSE to engage in negotiations with the PNA when representing their interests, or to make payroll deductions of union subscriptions for PNA ambulance personnel members.
The PNA said its members are reporting that ambulance services are being stretched to the limit as the HSE has struggled to fill rosters and maintain crews in the absence of overtime from PNA members.
PNA General Secretary, Mr Peter Hughes said this escalating dispute which was brought on by the intransigent and reckless decision by the HSE to not allow ambulance personnel to join the union of their choice, is now putting the national ambulance services under serious and potentially dangerous strain.
“The HSE has been putting a patchwork of vehicles and crews together to cover major gaps in rosters as a result of the overtime ban. It is time for this to stop, and for the Minister for Health, Simon Harris T.D. to instruct the HSE to get back to running our health services and stop trying to undermine the rights of ambulance personnel to be part of the PNA union.'
Mr Hughes said there have been examples all this week of ambulance services having to be cut back and curtailed because of the overtime ban. Examples include:
• Redeployment of EMT crew to Cork on Wednesday to bring ambulance numbers up;
• ICV ambulances put on Delta calls in Cork, although they are not equipped for these calls;
• Thurles ambulance in Cork to give cover;
• No Rapid Response Vehicles (RRV) in Nenagh on Wednesday night;
RE: Update re Recruitment and Retention Pay Measures
We wrote to Minister Harris and the HSE on the 25 th October outlining the result of our ballot, which overwhelming rejected the pay measures proposed by the Employer in relation to the Recruitment & Retention crisis in nursing. Our members clearly demonstrated by 94% rejection of the pay measures proposed that these are totally inadequate to address the crisis.
As you are aware we are holding an NEC meeting next week 15 th November 2018 to review the outcome of our ballot and to consider balloting for Industrial Action up to and including strike.
November 6 th 2018 – Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) ambulance personnel members will from tomorrow (Weds. November 7 th ) refuse to work additional shifts (overtime) in protest at continued refusal of the HSE to engage in negotiations with the PNA when representing their interests, or to make payroll deductions of union subscriptions for PNA ambulance personnel members.
The refusal of additional shifts by up to 500 PNA ambulance personnel members (including paramedics, advanced paramedics and emergency medical technicians) will take effect from 7 a.m. (Weds. Nov. 7 th ) when Phase 2 of the mandated industrial action commences.
PNA General Secretary, Mr Peter Hughes said the move to Phase 2 of their industrial action by ambulance personnel represented a significant escalation in the dispute that is entirely of the HSE's making.
He said: “For highly skilled, professional and dedicated ambulance personnel to be forced by the intransigence of the HSE to embark on this overtime ban is totally unacceptable and confirms that the HSE sees no limits to the extent to which it will attempt to deny ambulance personnel their rights to join the union of their choice while also trying to force them to be part of a union that they do not want to be part of.”
Dublin, 1 November 2018 – Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) ambulance personnel members today (Thursday, November 1 st ) held a protest at the HSE National HR Directorate Offices at Dr. Steevens' Hospital, Dublin 8, at the continued refusal of the HSE to engage in negotiations with the PNA when representing the interests of their ambulance personnel members, or to make payroll deductions of union subscriptions for PNA ambulance personnel members.
Today's protest is part of ongoing industrial action by PNA ambulance personnel (including paramedics, advanced paramedics and emergency medical technicians) which began on October 10 th , and which will move to Phase 2 next Wednesday (November 7 th ) when up to 500 branch members of the PNA ambulance personnel branch (NASRA) will refuse to work additional shifts (overtime) nationally.
Speaking at today's protest, PNA General Secretary, Mr Peter Hughes accused the HSE of showing contempt for the clear wishes of ambulance personnel to be members of and represented by the PNA.
He said: ‘For the HSE to refuse to accept that ambulance personnel throughout the country want to be members of the PNA shows total contempt for the wishes of these front line workers, who must have the right to be members of the union of their choice.
Nursing members of the Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) have voted overwhelmingly to reject proposals by the Public Service Pay Commission. PNA will now convene a special National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting in November with a view to seeking a mandate for industrial action, up to and including strike.
The PNA has stated that the Public Service Pay Commission Report had failed completely to understand the scale of the recruitment and retention crisis in the mental health services and the impact this is having on the delivery of services.
PNA General Secretary, Peter Hughes said nurses who are experiencing the impact of the staffing shortages on a daily basis were extremely disappointed with the findings of the Pay Commission and its totally inadequate proposals.
The Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) said today (Tues. 25 th Sept.) that is has identified up to 700 nurses vacancies in mental health services across the country and has described the recent conclusions of the Public Sector Pay Commission that there is no issue with nurse recruitment as completely inaccurate and misleading.
The PNA's latest audit of psychiatric nursing vacancies shows that the number of unfilled nursing posts in the mental health services is growing, and there are now nearly 200 more vacancies throughout the country than when the PNA conducted a similar exercise last year.
The PNA revealed the new figures in advance of a specially convened meeting of its National Executive tomorrow (Wednesday 26 th ) to consider the union's response to the recent Report of the Public Sector Pay Commission.
The latest figures compiled by the PNA show the scale of the staffing shortage throughout the country. Examples include:
St Loman's/St James
Dublin North City
PNA General Secretary, Peter Hughes said the Pay Commission had completely ignored the scale of the mounting recruitment and retention crisis facing the mental health services.
A PNA Delegation met with the Minister for Mental Health, Mr Jim Daly and Dept of Health Officials on Sept 20th to highlight our concerns in relation to the crisis in Mental Health Services (MHS). We highlighted the crisis in recruitment and retention of nurses in the service. We made it very clear to the Minister that we do not accept the Public Service Commission Report statement that " the commission is not persuaded based on evidence available, that current pay arrangements are, in themselves, a significant impediment to recruitment."
The Minister was informed that the HSE acknowledge there is a difficulty in relation to recruitment and retention in the MHS. It was highlighted that the shortage of nurses in the MHS is exacerbating which is supported by the outcome of our recent survey of branches which indicates that there are 700 vacancies nationally, over 200 extra since our last survey in November 2017. It was outlined how this is impacting on patient care and the implementation of Vision for Change resulting in an overtime bill of approximately €300,000 per week which clearly demonstrates a severe nursing recruitment and retention problem.
It is with great pleasure that we present this document “Shaping the Future of Intellectual Disability Nursing in Ireland” which sets out a clear direction for the future role of intellectual disability nursing in delivering on a key priority for the HSE; ensuring the best possible health and social care is delivered to individuals with an intellectual disability.
The Psychiatric Nurses Association (P NA) today (Thursday ,5 th July ) welcomed the announcement of ten new Advanced Nurse Practitioner posts to work specifically in the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) nationally. PNA has consistently called for the appointment of ANPs to carry out initial assessments of children and thereby relieve the current waiting lists for access to CAMHS services which have built up throughout the country.
PNA General Secretary, Peter Hughes said:
‘Today's announcement is a positive step in addressing the current CAMHS crisis in our mental health services. It is vital now that the appointment of these highly skilled ANPs, as insisted on by PNA and recommended by the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Future of Mental Health Care, is accompanied by the investment of significant extra resources in CAMHS nationally.'
The Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) said today (Sunday, 24 th June) recent comments by the Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People, Jim Daly T.D. that online psychiatric consultations are the answer to meeting the soaring demanding for access to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) are misguided and completely ignore the potential role for Advanced Nurse Practitioners in assessing children for admission to CAMHS.
PNA General Secretary, Peter Hughes said Minister Daly appears to have adopted a defeatist attitude to the prospect of recruiting consultant psychiatrists and nurses into our mental health services, and instead has declared that he is to be a champion for online delivery of psychiatric assessment and referrals for services.
‘The Minister seems to be in denial as to the extent of the recruitment and retention crisis in our mental health services despite the clear evidence such as the exodus of consultant psychiatrists from the South East and six months of industrial action by psychiatric nurses in Waterford and Kilkenny in protest at under staffing and lack of services. Instead he is now to champion remote video and online delivery of complex mental health services.'
'Both the PNA and Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Future of Mental Health Care in its Interim Report last December have proposed that in order to reduce waiting lists that Advanced Nurse Practitioners should be able to provide the initial assessment for access to CAMHS services.'
The Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) today (Weds. 13 th June)welcomed the decision by the HSE not to go ahead with a reduction in the number of beds in the new Acute Mental Health Admission Unit at University College Hospital Galway (UCHG) which will be officially opened on June 30 th . This followed conciliation under auspices of WRC on 29/05/18 and acceptance of same by West Galway PNA Branch.
The PNA said the Unit will now comprise of 50 beds as originally planned instead of 45 beds as announced by the HSE earlier this year. The PNA had strongly opposed the proposed reduction in beds which was in violation of commitments given by the HSE following the closure of 22 beds in Ballinasloe.
Opening Statement - Joint Committee on the Future of Mental Health Care
Recruiting Clinicians for Mental Health Services
June 13, 2018 - Mr Peter Hughes - Psychiatric Nurses Association
Thank you for your invitation to address the Joint Committee on the Future of Mental on the topic of the processes involved in recruiting clinicians for Mental Health Services.
As you are aware there is a major crisis in the Recruitment and Retention of Nurses in the Mental Health Services. This has had a significant impact on the delivery of services resulting in for example:
• Inadequate Child & Adolescent Mental Health Services.
• Lack of properly resourced Community Teams
• No 24-7 Community Crisis Teams.
• 120% bed capacity in Admission Units resulting in the indignity of Service Users sleeping on chairs and mattresses in Kilkenny and Waterford Services.