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The Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA)  today  (Monday 21 st August) totally rejected comments by the Minister for State with Responsibility for Mental Health and Older People, Jim Daly T.D. that trade unions are a hindrance to achieving change in the health services.

PNA General Secretary, Peter Hughes said that Deputy Daly's view that trade unions in the health sector are the cause of lack of reform and change in the health services is a total misrepresentation.

‘Minister Daly might want to consider the reasons for the abysmal lack of progress by the HSE and the Department of Health in the implementation of the Vision for Change strategy for the mental health services.  The PNA has been pushing for the full implementation of this strategy since it was published by the government with a huge fanfare 11 years ago.  Unfortunately, large parts of Vision for Change remain underfunded and unimplemented despite across the board support for it from the trade union movement. The Minister will have to look closer to home, at the HSE and his own department, for the real reasons for the lack of progress in the reform of our mental health services.'

Mr Hughes said the further suggestion from Minister Daly in his interview yesterday ( Irish Examiner, Monday ) that the easy parts of reform in the health services are devising policy and getting additional resources is completely at odds with the reality faced by staff on the ground.

‘We have seen many cases of HSE academic desk top proposals on policy reform that the trade union movement have had to point out are simply unworkable. One example of this was the HSE's ‘yellow pack' graduate nurse recruitment proposals of two years ago which PNA and other unions pointed out were impractical and unworkable.  This proved to be the case, and we are still dealing with the legacy of that disastrous proposal on the retention and recruitment of nurses into the mental health services where we have over 2000 vacancies currently. ‘

Media Contact : Derek Cunningham 086-2430535