Psychiatric Nurses (members of the Psychiatric Nurses Association, PNA) today (Tuesday 20 th Feb.) commenced industrial action, while colleagues in Kilkenny escalated their current industrial action, in protest at the continuing overcrowding and under staffing of psychiatric units in Waterford and Kilkenny.
Today's commencement of industrial action in the Department of Psychiatry, University Hospital Waterford (UHW), and in residential units at Grangemore, St. Aidens and Ard na Deise involves psychiatric nurses not co-operating with non nursing duties. Meanwhile, in a direct response to the continuing overcrowding in St Lukes Acute Psychiatric Unit, in Kilkenny (where there were 50 patients in the 44 unit at the weekend) nurses there are escalating their industrial action (which has been in place since December last) to the next phase.
In both cases nurses have balloted overwhelmingly for action up to and including strike.
PNA Industrial Relations Officer, Michael Hayes said nurses were embarking on industrial action reluctantly, but have been left with no choice in order to protect service delivery to patients and ensure the safety of both clients and staff in services across Waterford and Kilkenny.
‘The message to the HSE from today is clear – the current levels of overcrowding in psychiatric units in Waterford and Kilkenny cannot be allowed to continue. These vital services cannot be delivered adequately and safely in facilities that are regularly overcrowded and understaffed. They certainly cannot be run on the basis of an almost continuous redeployment of staff, use of agency staff and overtime and reliance on the sheer goodwill of over stretched permanent staff.'
‘The demand on the mental health services in Waterford and Kilkenny (as in the rest of the country) is constant, and growing. The current facilities are proving again and again that there is not the capacity (supported by proper staffing) to meet those demands and nurses are demanding that the HSE set out clearly how the issues arising from overcrowding and understaffing are going to be resolved in Waterford and Kilkenny once and for all.'
Media Contact: Michael Hayes 086-3568849, Derek Cunningham 086-2430535