The Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) said today (Friday 21 st October) that it is extremely concerned and disappointed that the Budget commitment of €35 million in extra funding for mental health services will in fact amount to just €15 million in 2017.
The revelation by Minster of State for Mental Health, Helen McEntee in the Dail yesterday (Thursday) which confirmed that just €15m of the €35 million Budget allocation would be spent in 2017 is once again a Budget Day ‘sleight of hand' that leaves mental health services underfunded and trying to play catch-up after years of cut backs.
The Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) said today (Thursday, 13 th Oct.) that the restoration of incremental credit for 2011-2015 nursing graduates announced by the Minister for Health, Simon Harris should help in the efforts to recruit and retain nurses in the Irish health system.
PNA, General Secretary Designate, Peter Hughes said he was pleased that Minister Harris had recognised the unfairness of the serious pay anomaly for nurses where an incremental credit for a 36 weeks nursing internship had only been restored to graduates from 2016 onwards.
‘PNA and the other nursing unions made the very strong case that this anomaly was one of the barriers to recruiting and retaining nurses in our health system. It would have made absolutely no sense to try to proceed with the recruitment of up 1,000 nurses as announced in the Budget while this clear anomaly remained for 2011-2015 graduates. We commend the Minister for recognising this and moving to resolve the issue.'
I wish to thank and commend all those that attended the protest outside the Dail yesterday, which was proportionally very well attended by the PNA members. Prior to the protest a briefing session was held for TD's and Senators in Buswells Hotel. A number of Politicians also attended the protest. Following the protest, a delegation from the 3 Unions met Minister Simon Harris and Department of Health Officials. The delegation included full time officials and nurses effected by the incremental cut. Those nurse graduates gave testimony to the Minister of the impact this cut is having on their lives.
I wish to commend the PNA members who gave their very clear and forthright testimonies i.e. Thomas Heir, Clare, Catriona O Neill, Limerick, and Philip Doyle, Laois to the Minister.
The Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) said today (Tuesday 27th Sept,) that it welcomed the acknowledgement by the Minister for Health, Simon Harris that there is a real anomaly in the pay of nurses who have been denied incremental credit if they graduated between 2011 and 2015.
The Minister made his comments in a meeting with the PNA and other nursing unions following a protest by graduate nurses on the issue outside the Dail earlier.
The Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) said today (Friday, 16 th Sept) that following discussions with the HSE the issues concerning the employment of 2016 psychiatric nurses graduates in the North West has been resolved.
PNA General Secretary Designate, Peter Hughes said PNA are now satisfied that 2016 psychiatric nurse graduates will be employed in the mental health services in accordance with the terms of the recent national agreement reached with the HSE at Workplace Relations Commission to address the chronic under staffing throughout the mental health services.
On Tuesday 16 th August at the Workplace Relations Commission the PNA accepted the proposals put forward by the Commission and called off all industrial action related to the Dispute on Recruitment and Retention of Psychiatric Nurses. The only outstanding issue left unresolved is the refusal of DPERS to sanction restoration of an increment to those nurses who graduated 2011-'15, despite agreement between all the other parties that the increment should be restored. The PNA will immediately launch into a separate campaign on this issue in collaboration with the INMO.
Peter Hughes, General Secretary Designate, says ‘Our NEC and Officer Board is disappointed and angry at the refusal of DPERS to sanction this payment. We will now launch a joint campaign with the INMO to achieve this payment for our graduates. Nearly 600 Psychiatric Nursing Graduates have left our services between 2011 and 2015 and will not return to be treated as second class nurses. It is incredible that DPERS has not just rejected the PNA claim but also the advice of the HSE and Dept. of Health who agreed this increment should be restored as a recruitment and retention incentive'.
This was one of the most successful national disputes in the history of the PNA. The following was achieved:
An additional 60 Psychiatric Nurse training places will be provided this year and 130 additional places in 2017 bringing the total to 420.
40 Post Graduate places will be offered to nurses from other disciplines to train as psychiatric nurses commencing in January 2017.
A scoping exercise is currently being completed into the feasibility of training other health science graduates as Psychiatric Nurses.
New measures aimed at dealing with the current shortages pending the training of sufficient numbers of nurses include: - Retired staff will be offered employment at a pay rate equal to the maximum point of the Staff Nurse Scale (LSI). - Current employees will be encouraged to provide additional hours at a pay rate based on their personal hourly rate.
The Psychiatric Nurses Association PNA and The Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery at the Royal College of Surgeons (RCSI) have today (Wed. June 24 th) announced a new agreement for the delivery of high quality education, training and professional development by the Faculty to the members of the PNA.
Photo L to R: Mr Thomas Kearns Executive Director RCSI, Mr Fintan Leahy National Chairman PNA, Dr Marie Keane Dean RCSI, Mr Des Kavanagh General Secretary, Ms Aisling Culhane Rsearch & Development Advisor
Under the new Service Level Agreement PNA and the RCSI Faculty of Nursing will work in partnership, to collaborate and cooperate in supporting the education, training, continuous professional development (CPD) and professional competence needs and requirements of the members of the union. It is intended for the partnership to provide a model of excellence in ongoing professional education, and CPD including:
Establishing and regularly identifying national learning needs for the members of the PNA
Accreditation of the programmes provided to the PNA members
Supporting members of the PNA maintain their professional competence
Continuing to enhance the role of the PNA as a strategic leader in the provision of CE/CPD
Prioritising the patient safety agenda; supporting the delivery of safe, high quality evidence based nursing care.
Utilising continuing education/CPD support to become a central component of local and national agreements for the PNA
Utilising Continuing education/CPD support to become a central component of dealings with the revised PPC and FTP procedures within NMBI.