Wednesday 5th  June,2024:  The Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA)  will commence a ballot of its members for industrial action  today (Wednesday 5th June) in response to the refusal by the HSE to exempt mental health services from the recruitment embargo imposed on the health services in November 2023.

PNA General Secretary, Peter Hughes said the ballot for industrial action – up to and including strike- reflects the frustration by PNA members at a recent HSE memo (3rd April) announcing derogations to the recruitment embargo but did not include mental health services.

“There are over 700 vacancies in the mental health services which is seriously impacting on the delivery of care, the depletion of frontline services and the inability to develop services.”

“The provision of basic psychiatric services throughout the country, including Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) is reliant on both overtime and agency. This is becoming unsustainable and there is mounting concern that the current situation will ultimately result in the closure of services. It is essential that the recruitment of Psychiatric / Mental Health Nurses is exempt from the recruitment freeze, as a matter of urgency. “

Mr Hughes cited examples of services which remain closed as a direct result of lack of staff.

“The imposition of the recruitment embargo offers no prospect whatsoever of re-opening of the 11 beds in Linn Dara CAMHS and these services provide a vitally important role in the provision of mental health services for both children and adolescents in the Dublin area. It is imperative that every possible effort is made to re-open this unit.”

“Our mental health services are at a critical tipping point, and we have been reliably informed that closures of some community services are imminent in order for managers to prioritize the inpatient approved centres and 24-hour community services. This of course will lead to significant risk in the community and increased admissions.”

“Furthermore, there is a very significant risk factor in terms of clinical governance with the number of critical promotional posts that have not received derogation.”

Mr Hughes concluded: “The refusal of the HSE to acknowledge the extent of the staffing crisis and exempt mental health services from the recruitment ban has completely undermined the confidence of our members in the ability of the HSE to guarantee a proper nursing workforce to meet the chronic staff shortages being faced now and in the coming years.”

Media Contact:  Derek Cunningham 086 2430535 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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