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The Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) said today (Friday 15 th April) up to 1,000 new nurses will be needed to fill up to 600 current vacancies and forecasted retirement across the mental health services just to maintain current levels of staffing.

Speaking at the PNA ADC in Cavan, General Secretary, Des Kavanagh said PNA cannot trust the HSE to guarantee a proper nursing workforce is in place for the mental health services and nurses have no faith that HSE strategies being pursued to recruit and train nurses will meet the chronic staff shortages being faced now and in the coming years.

ADC delegates voted to put a proposal for a ballot on industrial action on the staffing shortage to a special meeting of the PNA NEC to take place on May 10th.

‘The shortage of nurses is at crisis proportions and is causing horrendous problems across mental health services. These shortages were easily foreseeable by a Government which was so focussed on cutting numbers of public servants that they acted with complete indifference to the forecasted needs of the sick and disabled'.

‘Those who trained as Nurses were herded towards airports and ferry ports to populate the health services of other countries, those who remained were penalised with pay cuts, temporary and unstable employment, and extremely difficult working conditions.'

‘I understand that having regard to existing vacancies and forecasted retirements we need 1000 new nurses just to maintain current levels of service without investing in any new developments in accordance with Vision for Change, Primary Care etc. at the same time we are now facing a new moratorium'.

Des Kavanagh listed the scale of the staffing shortage in services across the country and set out a series of PNA proposals for a meaningful response to the staffing crisis.

V acant nursing posts notified to PNA Head office over the past 10 days:

North Dublin (Psychiatry) 30

North Dublin (Intellectual Disability Services 58

Kildare 10

Laois/Offaly 29

Mayo 28

Vergemount including St. Vincent's Elm Park 19

Wicklow 17

Longford Westmeath Psychiatry 12

Longford Westmeath ID 10

Kerry 30

Wexford 24

Central Mental Hospital 35

Cork South Lee 24

Clare 15

St Brendans 17

Louth MHS 12

See also Des Kavanagh's Full Address on the staff shortage issue

Media Contact : Derek Cunningham

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