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The National Executive Committee of the Psychiatric Nurses Association has sanctioned the commencement of a national ballot of PNA members for industrial action, up to and including strike, in response to the staffing crisis in the mental health services. 

The NEC is recommending in favour of industrial action in the ballot that will be conducted nationally over the next two weeks.

Commenting on the ballot, PNA General Secretary Designate, Peter Hughes said all reasonable efforts by PNA to get the HSE to acknowledge and respond meaningfully to the staffing crisis have failed . 

‘ The figures are stark with up to 600 nursing vacancies currently and a further 400 to arise from forecasted retirement across the me ntal health services. The shortage of nurses is at crisis proportions and the Government and the HSE have shown indifference to the forecasted staffing needs of the mental health services.  The result is that staff have been left struggling just to maintain current acute and community services with no prospect of investing in the development of new services. '

‘The PNA has no faith in the HSE  to guarantee a proper nursing workforce is put  in place for the mental health services or that the HSE strategies being pursued to recruit and train nurses will meet the chronic staff shortages being faced now and in the coming years. ‘

Peter Hughes outlined examples of the scale of the staffing shortage in various services across the country.

North Dublin (Psychiatry)  30

North Dublin (Intellectual Disability Services  58

Laois/Offaly  40

Mayo  28

Vergemount / St. Vincent's Elm Park  19

Kerry  30

Wexford  24

Central Mental Hospital  35

Cork South Lee  24

St Loman's /Tallaght  43

Media Contact : Derek Cunningham 086-2430535