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17 th August 2016

Dear Colleagues,

On Tuesday 16 th August at the Workplace Relations Commission the PNA accepted the proposals put forward by the Commission and called off all industrial action related to the Dispute on Recruitment and Retention of Psychiatric Nurses. The only outstanding issue left unresolved is the refusal of DPERS to sanction restoration of an increment to those nurses who graduated 2011-'15, despite agreement between all the other parties that the increment should be restored. The PNA will immediately launch into a separate campaign on this issue in collaboration with the INMO.

Peter Hughes, General Secretary Designate, says ‘Our NEC and Officer Board is disappointed and angry at the refusal of DPERS to sanction this payment. We will now launch a joint campaign with the INMO to achieve this payment for our graduates. Nearly 600 Psychiatric Nursing Graduates have left our services between 2011 and 2015 and will not return to be treated as second class nurses. It is incredible that DPERS has not just rejected the PNA claim but also the advice of the HSE and Dept. of Health who agreed this increment should be restored as a recruitment and retention incentive'.

This was one of the most successful national disputes in the history of the PNA. The following was achieved:

  1. An additional 60 Psychiatric Nurse training places will be provided this year and 130 additional places in 2017 bringing the total to 420.

  2. 40 Post Graduate places will be offered to nurses from other disciplines to train as psychiatric nurses commencing in January 2017.

  3. A scoping exercise is currently being completed into the feasibility of training other health science graduates as Psychiatric Nurses.

  4. New measures aimed at dealing with the current shortages pending the training of sufficient numbers of nurses include:
    - Retired staff will be offered employment at a pay rate equal to the maximum point of the Staff Nurse Scale (LSI).
    - Current employees will be encouraged to provide additional hours at a pay rate based on their personal hourly rate.

  5. All temporary nurses and all 2016 graduates will be offered Permanent Posts.

  6. A Working Group will be set up immediately to report before the end of the year on the implementation of 24/7 Home Based Crisis Services Pilot Projects in 2017.

  7. The HSE will provide an additional 3 Advanced Nurse Practitioner Posts in each CHO Area and one in the Forensic Services, i.e. an additional 28 ANPs on top of those currently in place.

  8. All nurses assigned to Mon-Fri rosters in the community will be paid an additional 5,449 Euro per annum. The Payment schedule provides for:
    - 50% of the new Allowance to be paid from September 1 st , 2016.
    - The remaining 50% to be paid in January 2017.
    - The full allowance will be paid in accordance with the pay cycle 92 weekly/monthly from Jan. 1 st 2017.
    - All Psychiatric Nurses up to and including the ADON grade will be eligible for this payment consistent with the criteria that applied to the Community Allowance. Those who have the Community Allowance will continue to be paid same.

  9. The bureaucratic process of recruiting nurses which has taken as long as 4 months before a request for a post to be filled is passed to National Recruitment Services is guaranteed not to exceed 28 days.

  10. The management of the Serious Physical Assault Scheme has been reviewed to ensure the assaulted nurse's full pay is maintained and his/her Sick Pay entitlements protected.

  11. Nurses working part-time hours will be able to increases their working hours without obstacles or objection.

  12. An implementation group agreed between the parties will oversee implementation of this agreement. This group will meet fortnightly in the first instance.

  13. It has also been agreed that separate discussions will take place with the PNA in relation to the CHO Structures. Members will be aware that the PNA had refused to attend the other discussions until outstanding issues in Mental Health are addressed.

Mr Peter Hughes continues ‘This is a hugely important agreement for the future safeguarding of mental health services. The Implementation group will ensure delivery of all parts of the Agreement. Our Graduates 2011-'15 will be disappointed but at the same time many of those graduates will now be made permanent, those working in the community will have access to the additional payment of nearly 5,500 Euro p.a. and hopefully some of them will be able to work towards posts in advanced clinical practice. Our Graduates abroad now know that if they return to Community Posts they will be paid this new Allowance.

Great credit and congratulations are due to our Branch Officers and our members for their commitment and discipline in managing this highly successful Industrial Action; and indeed to our staff and Officer Board in their design of a multi-stage Industrial Action strategy which produced a successful outcome without costing any member a penny in loss of earnings as would occur in a strike.

Yours sincerely


Mr Des Kavanagh

General Secretary