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.
The Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) today (Tuesday 22nd May) called for the introduction of Advanced Nurse Practitioners and the opening of a number of Day Hospitals throughout the country as a means of tackling the worsening crisis in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).
PNA General Secretary, Peter Hughes, said a meeting of psychiatric nurses working in CAMHS from around the country has unanimously agreed that the HSE must introduce new measures to allow faster access to child and adolescent psychiatric services. The nurses met in response to new figures released last week which showed that the number of children and young people waiting over a year to access Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services increased by 10% between February and March with the overall waiting list for the service predicted to exceed 3,000 before the year's end if the current trend continues.
Mr Hughes said the figures confirm the experience of psychiatric nurses throughout the country that CAMHS are in chaos as a result of a under-staffing and under – resourcing.
The PNA met with the Public Sector Pay Commission on Tuesday 15 th May as a follow on to our detailed submission to the Pay Commission last November. The salient points of our submission were verbally presented and re-iterated with updates since our November submission.
The key points raised were:
1 . The impact on service provision due to nursing shortages, e.g.; staffing of the 20 bedded CAMHS unit in the new National Children's Hospital. Staffing of the additional 76 beds in the new National Forensic Services. 120% bed capacity in adult mental health services due to lack of community developments.
2. Competing market forces
UK relocation recruitment packages and UK additional recruitment post Brexit
Competition from the Irish private hospitals and agencies
3. Acknowledgement by HSE testament at Oireachtas Committee meetings on the Future of Mental Health Care in Ireland, i.e.;
The Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) said today (Monday, 14 th May) that the latest figures for the number of children and young people waiting over a year to see the state's Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) are extremely disappointing and confirm the PNA's assessment that the delivery of CAMHS services throughout the country is chaotic as a result of a understaffing and under – resourcing.
PNA General Secretary, Peter Hughes said the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Future of Mental Health Care in its Interim Report in December last had proposed that in order to reduce waiting lists that nurses should be able to provide the initial assessment for access to CAMHS services.
An online survey on Registered Nurse and Midwife Prescribers’ prescribing practice and factors influencing practice is being undertaken by colleagues in the School of Nursing and Midwifery, Trinity College Dublin and University College Dublin.
The survey should take you approximately than 15 – 20 minutes to complete and has been granted ethical approval.
CONFERENCE CONDEMS LACK OF PROGRESS IN PROVISION OF CHILD AND ADOLESCENT MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES AND CONTINUED PLACEMENT OF CHILDREN IN ADULT UNITS
The current shortage of nurses in mental health services will only get worse, and services will deteriorate further, unless the current Public Service Pay Commission process results in significant pay measures for nurses, including pay parity with therapy grades the General Secretary of the Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) told the union's Annual Delegate Conference meeting in Cavan today ( Thursday 12 th April.)
PNA General Secretary, Peter Hughes said:
‘ The PNA cannot and will not accept anything less than a significant meaningful recommendation by the Public Service Pay Commission to address nurses pay and Conference this morning mandated the union to support a ballot for industrial action, up to and including strike, if those pay measures do no come from the Pay Commission.'
‘Should the Public Service Pay Commission fail to recommend remedial pay measures then the chance for this country to resolve this impending crisis will be lost for a generation with very serious implications for the delivery and development of mental health services and patient care.'
Mr Hughes said a ‘culture of emigration' has developed for graduating Irish nurses, and recruitment and retention into the Irish health services will only be solved by significant increases in nurses pay. He said experts already predict that there is likely to be a significant push to recruit Irish nursing graduates in post Brexit UK and unless there are improvements in nurses pay which close the gap between salaries here and those available to nurses emigrating to UK, Australia and Canada, then the Irish health services will lose another generation of nursing graduates'.
Mr Hughes said the scale of the recruitment crisis facing the mental health services is stark.
I am pleased to bring you this report as General Secretary on the occasion of our 47th conference here in the Slieve Russell Hotel, Cavan. I would like to especially welcome Minister Daly and look forward to his address. I want to thank the Cavan/Monaghan Mental Health and Intellectual Disability branches for hosting conference.
As you know we have focussed a lot of attention on the recruitment and retention crisis in nursing, and I will return to this topic later. But for now I am pleased to be able to report to Conference that despite this crisis our PNA membership remains stable and has even increased in the past year.
The National Ambulance Representative Association (NASRA) membership continues to grow with a significant increase in the past six months. This is a reflection of the leadership, hard work and representation provided by Tony Gregg and Mick Dixon over the past seven years. Mick has recently retired from the position of Chairman of NASRA and Sinead McGrath has been elected as the new chairperson. I want to take this opportunity to thank Mick for all his work over the years and wish Sinead every success in the role.
For over seven years NASRA subscriptions have been deducted at source by HSE payroll, However, since last November the HSE are refusing to deduct subscriptions at source for new applicants. This is a total affront to the fundamental rights of employees to organise and to freedom of association. When we consider that the HSE deduct at source for the credit union, Banks, insurance companies, GAA draws, their behaviour in relation to NASRA members is absolutely shameful.
NASRA mounted a very strong protest outside the National Ambulance Services Central Payroll Department in Tullamore in February as the first step of resistance to this discriminatory action by the HSE. We will be intensifying our campaign to resolve this basic fundamental right to freedom of association in the coming weeks and will not desist until this matter is satisfactorily resolved.
I will be insisting that the HSE respect the wishes of paramedics nationally to join the union of their choice and to recommence the deductions forthwith.
IFESA continues its work on behalf of its members despite a disappointing outcome in the Court of Appeal on the issue of union recognition.
Delegates, the inadequacies and underinvestment in the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services have been highlighted at conferences for many years and in numerous other forums. I took the opportunity last June to outline the PNA's serious concerns regarding CAMHS to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services on no less than two occasions.
This was an important opportunity to outline the inadequate service provision for the Children and Adolescents experiencing mental health problems in Ireland.
For a country that purports again and again to put the best interests of our children first, the Report from the Committee published in October 2017 highlighted some stark facts. According to the United Nations Children's Emergency Report “Building the Future” published last year, when compared to 37 nations in the developed world, Ireland has the fourth highest teenage suicide rate.
The PNA said today (Wednesday) it was dismayed and extremely disappointed after the breakdown of talks (under the auspices of the WRC) yesterday with the HSE on the opening of the new acute mental health admission unit at University College Hospital Galway (UCHG).
The PNA said the collapse of the talks resulted from the HSE insistence that it would open just 45 of the 50 beds earmarked for the new Unit. This is in direct violation to the agreement on the closure of 22 beds in Ballinasloe in 2014 when management outlined that 50 beds would become operational in Galway.
During the failed negotiations, the PNA highlighted huge concerns over the high level of bed occupancy within the existing unit, and the absence of service developments such as homebased treatment, crisis intervention teams and 24/7 mental health services that would lead to a reduction in bed occupancy.
‘The 2015 HSE Review of Roscommon Mental Health Services, which was a shocking indictment of management of the services, showed that €17.6million was handed back to the HSE in the period 2012-2014 at a time when there was compelling evidence of the under-investment in the mental health services in the West to meet the targets set out in the government's Vision for Change mental health strategy.'