PNA give HSE three weeks’ notice of commencement of industrial action.

Wednesday 26th June,2024 Psychiatric nurses – members of the Psychiatric Nurses Association PNA – have voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action, up to and including strike action, in response to the refusal by the HSE to exempt mental health services from the recruitment embargo imposed on the health services in November 2023.

Following the outcome of the ballot of its members, and a meeting of the PNA National Executive Committee yesterday (Tuesday), PNA have issued the HSE with three weeks’ notice of the commencement of industrial action. 

PNA General Secretary, Peter Hughes said the vote of 96% in favour of industrial action confirmed the level of annoyance and frustration of psychiatric nurses with the continued imposition of the HSE recruitment embargo and the impossible position it is creating for the delivery of mental health services. 

“There are over 700 vacancies in the mental health services which is seriously impacting on the delivery of care, the depletion of frontline services and the inability to develop services.” 

“The comments by Mr. John Farrelly, Head of Mental Health Commission on the publication of their 2023 Annual Report yesterday (Tuesday) that “a number of acute inpatient centre providers, particularly the HSE, “are struggling to meet standards’ in areas such as staffing, care planning and risk management”, are deeply concerning, particularly as the comments refer to the period before the imposition of the recruitment embargo. The situation described by the MHC has in fact deteriorated since November last.”

“The provision of basic psychiatric services throughout the country, including Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) is reliant on both overtime and agency. This situation is unsustainable and there is real concern that the current situation will ultimately result in the closure of services. It is essential that the recruitment of Psychiatric / Mental Health Nurses is exempt from the recruitment freeze, as a matter of urgency. “

“Our mental health services are at a critical point, with possible closure of further services at community level resulting in significant risk in the community and increased admissions. There is also a risk factor in terms of clinical governance with the number of critical promotional posts that have not received derogation.” 

Mr Hughes concluded: “With three weeks’ notice of the commencement of industrial action the HSE must engage with us to realistically acknowledge the extent of the staffing crisis and exempt mental health services from the recruitment ban. That is the only way that the confidence of our members will be restored and that we can be guaranteed a proper nursing workforce to meet the chronic staff shortages being faced now and in the coming years.”

Media Contact:  Derek Cunningham 086 2430535 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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