Psychiatric nurses,(members of PNA), attending an emergency general meeting in Galway last night (Wednesday) have voted overwhelmingly to commence a ballot for industrial action, up to and including strike action.

Last night's meeting followed the collapse on Tuesday of Labour Relations Commission (LRC) chaired talks involving the Psychiatric Nurses Association and the HSE to address staffing and health and safety issues at the Acute Psychiatric Unit at University College Hospital Galway (UCHG) where there have been 36 assaults on staff this year.

The LRC convened talks collapsed following a warning by HSE management of sanctions against ten nurses who did not take up duty in the Unit last Wednesday week (22 nd April) on health and safety grounds. The strike ballot will commence tomorrow (Friday).

PNA Industrial Relations Officer, Peter Hughes said PNA had shown its commitment at the LRC talks to resolving the serious issues at the UCHG unit but any question of the HSE taking sanctions against nurses who had acted in the interest of their health and safety, and that of patients, is totally unacceptable

‘Staff at UCHG feel very unsupported by management in addressing the issues in the Acute Unit. The environment is unsafe for both staff and patients and they feel there is poor therapeutic benefit for patients due to the ongoing staffing and safety issues there. The move to ballot on industrial action is a clear indication of the frustration of staff with the management.'

Media Contacts: Derek Cunningham 086-2430535/Peter Hughes 087- 2103514

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