Dear Colleagues,

Please see below Press Release regarding Recruitment Freeze. We have also written to National HR seeking an urgent meeting on this issue.

We will update when we have more information.

Kind regards

Peter Hughes

General Secretary




Friday 10th November 2023: The Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) said that today’s announcement by the HSE of an extended staff recruitment freeze will worsen the existing staffing crisis in mental health services and inevitably lead to a further deterioration in the delivery of mental health services across the country.

PNA General Secretary, Peter Hughes, said that from the point of view of mental health services the recruitment freeze is inexplicable given that there are as many as 700 nursing vacancies in mental health with many services relying on overtime and agency staffing to an extent that is no longer sustainable.

Mr Hughes said that for some time now the HSE has been juggling services, and increasingly relying on stop-gap measures in an effort to fill gaps in staffing.

“We have witnessed the closure of a 16-bed Sub-Acute Unit at St James’s Hospital Psychiatric Unit and the failure to re-open 11 beds in the Linn Dara Child and Adolescent Mental Health Unit, in Cherry Orchard, Dublin, which plays a vitally important role in the provision of Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) in the greater Dublin region. Both of these closures were a direct result of the ongoing issues with recruitment and retention of psychiatric nursing staff into our services nationally, and today’s announcement means there is no prospect of these services re-opening and will lead to further closures of services.”

“Around the country we are witnessing the worrying development where the staffing situation in our mental health services is so serious that whereas previously services would be curtailed because of staffing shortages, the HSE is now closing beds completely. Yet, the response to this crisis is now a recruitment freeze.”

“We now need specific proposals from the HSE Chief Executive Officer Bernard Gloster, and Minister Stephen Donnelly on how they propose to maintain mental health services and meet the growing demand for expanded and new services with a depleted workforce and no prospects of addressing staffing vacancies throughout the mental health services. “

Medial Contact : Derek Cunningham 086 - 2430535

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