The Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) has today (Tuesday, 29th. August ) demanded that 12 staff nursing posts are filled immediately in Acute Mental Health Unit of St. Luke's Hospital, Kilkenny amid growing concerns that understaffing is impacting on the safety of staff and patients.
PNA Industrial Relations Officer, Michael Hayes said the challenges faced by staff in the unit to provide safe and professional care are intolerable and must be addressed urgently by the HSE.
'There are currently 18 patients in the unit with high levels of acuity in some cases, yet for the last two weeks the level of activity in the unit combined with ongoing understaffing has left staff there 'running on empty '. The unit is relying on agency staff and overtime,but this is unsustainable and is compromising the safety of the unit and the quality of care that can be provided there.'
'PNA has repeatedly pointed out the pressure that staff in Kilkenny are under, however the HSE seems content to sit on its hands when 12 staff vacancies demand to be filled and a further four nursing retirements are imminent. This is unacceptable when staff are close to breaking point.'
'PNA Is demanding that the staff posts be filled and the other supports for Kilkenny MHS are put in place urgently. We are not prepared to see dedicated nursing staff put under intolerable pressure and left powerless. Without urgent action by the HSE now PNA will be considering all levels of industrial action to resolve the present unacceptable situation at Kilkenny MHS.'