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Thurs. 8 th Oct . Nursing staff (members of the Psychiatric Nurses Association) at St Peters Centre (Castlepollard) and Lough Sheever Intellectual Disability (ID) services (Mullingar) in Longford and Westmeath have voted overwhelmingly to commence industrial action, up to and including strike action on phased bases, from October 14th, in protest at the growing impact of staff shortages on the services.

PNA General Secretary, Des Kavanagh, said PNA members have major concerns regarding the health, safety and welfare of residents and staff in St Peters and Lough Sheever ID Services covering Counties Longford and Westmeath. He said the issues confronting staff and residents were particularly concerning given the criticisms earlier this year by the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) of governance and management systems at St. Peters.

‘What can only be described as an ongoing crisis in these services has reached the point of being intolerable. Nurses attempting to deliver vital services are finding themselves frustrated, stressed and fearful due to management's inability and apparent unwillingness to adequately resource the services. Among the issues being confronted by nurses on a daily bases are:

  • Community houses being persistently short staffed
  • Nurses being directed to cover more than one house resulting in houses without nursing cover for periods despite 24hrs nurse cover being necessary due to clinical needs of the residents
  • Loss and lack of Day Services
  • Nurses being directed to cover medication management in multiple Houses
  • Lack of continuity of care to residents due to over reliance on agency staff
  • Major governance issues such as lack of a clear reporting structures, inability to readily contact the manager / manager-on-call after office hours
  • An overall lack of support from management.

‘The PNA has persistently highlighted these issues to management over the past number of years and despite being through LRC processes nothing has been done on a consistent basis to rectify the problems. This is leaving nurses with little hope for the future of the services and is having a serious impact on staff morale and wellbeing. Management appear to be more concerned with meeting budgetary guidelines than seriously dealing with this crisis.

Media Contacts: Des Kavanagh 087 231 3809/ Derek Cunningham 086 2430535