Friday 7th Jan 2022: The Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) said today (Friday) that up to 600 nurses in the mental health services are now absent from duty as a result of the impacts of Covid-19 and this is creating unprecedented pressures on remaining staff to deliver services.

Following a special meeting of the PNA Board to consider the evolving situation, PNA General Secretary, Peter Hughes, said 20% of the estimated 3,000 nurses currently off work because of Covid, are working in the mental health services. He said the impacts throughout the mental health services are serious and mounting, and include:

  • Closure or curtailment of services due to the impact of Covid and the knock-on of the redeployment of nurses
  • A huge and unsustainable reliance on overtime and staff goodwill to maintain rosters and staffing
  • Staff exposed to unsafe working environment
  • Cancellation of mandatory training, and
  • Impact on the quality of learning and training for student nurses.

Commenting, Peter Hughes, said: “What we have at the moment is a very serious and evolving situation for the delivery of mental health serves that will become unsustainable if the current staffing situation continues or worsens in any way. The pressures being experienced are coming on top of historic staff shortages throughout our mental health services and which have left the provision of services stretched to their limits.”

Mr. Hughes said: “I am also concerned that we are starting into the new year in a very vulnerable staffing situation when there is already evidence of an imminent exodus of trained and experienced nurses from our mental health services to take up posts abroad in locations such as Canada and Australia.”

Media Contact : Derek Cunningham 0862430535


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