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 Ita's  

88 vacancies

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.

‘Over a year ago the PNA pointed out that HSE figures from as recently  as 2016 revealed that due to the age profile of psychiatric nurses  there is potential  for up to  1752 psychiatric nurses to retire immediately or within the next 5 years – equating to  34.2% of the mental health nursing workforce.  PNA's new figures confirm that the number of nursing vacancies is in fact growing annually. ‘

‘The conclusion of the Pay Commission that there is no issue with nurse recruitment is completely at odds with the evidence and experience of psychiatric nurses across the mental health services.  The reality is that there are ongoing nursing vacancies (in some cases as high as 20%) which are impacting daily on the delivery of mental health services.  The staffing shortages in the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) are well documented, as it the excessive (and expensive) reliance on overtime and  agency nurses throughout the mental health services'.

Tomorrow's special National Executive meeting will be deciding on the PNA response to the Pay Commission Report.

Media Contacts: Derek Cunningham 086-2430535, Peter Hughes 087-2103514


Derek Cunningham

M +353 (0)86 243 0535

T    +353 (0)1 551 4505

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