The Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) today (Tuesday 22nd May) called for the introduction of Advanced Nurse Practitioners and the opening of a number of Day Hospitals throughout the country as a means of tackling the worsening crisis in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).
PNA General Secretary, Peter Hughes, said a meeting of psychiatric nurses working in CAMHS from around the country has unanimously agreed that the HSE must introduce new measures to allow faster access to child and adolescent psychiatric services. The nurses met in response to new figures released last week which showed that the number of children and young people waiting over a year to access Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services increased by 10% between February and March with the overall waiting list for the service predicted to exceed 3,000 before the year's end if the current trend continues.
Mr Hughes said the figures confirm the experience of psychiatric nurses throughout the country that CAMHS are in chaos as a result of a under-staffing and under – resourcing.
The PNA met with the Public Sector Pay Commission on Tuesday 15 th May as a follow on to our detailed submission to the Pay Commission last November. The salient points of our submission were verbally presented and re-iterated with updates since our November submission.
The key points raised were:
1 . The impact on service provision due to nursing shortages, e.g.; staffing of the 20 bedded CAMHS unit in the new National Children's Hospital. Staffing of the additional 76 beds in the new National Forensic Services. 120% bed capacity in adult mental health services due to lack of community developments.
2. Competing market forces
UK relocation recruitment packages and UK additional recruitment post Brexit
Competition from the Irish private hospitals and agencies
3. Acknowledgement by HSE testament at Oireachtas Committee meetings on the Future of Mental Health Care in Ireland, i.e.;
The Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) said today (Monday, 14 th May) that the latest figures for the number of children and young people waiting over a year to see the state's Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) are extremely disappointing and confirm the PNA's assessment that the delivery of CAMHS services throughout the country is chaotic as a result of a understaffing and under – resourcing.
PNA General Secretary, Peter Hughes said the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Future of Mental Health Care in its Interim Report in December last had proposed that in order to reduce waiting lists that nurses should be able to provide the initial assessment for access to CAMHS services.
An online survey on Registered Nurse and Midwife Prescribers’ prescribing practice and factors influencing practice is being undertaken by colleagues in the School of Nursing and Midwifery, Trinity College Dublin and University College Dublin.
The survey should take you approximately than 15 – 20 minutes to complete and has been granted ethical approval.
CONFERENCE CONDEMS LACK OF PROGRESS IN PROVISION OF CHILD AND ADOLESCENT MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES AND CONTINUED PLACEMENT OF CHILDREN IN ADULT UNITS
The current shortage of nurses in mental health services will only get worse, and services will deteriorate further, unless the current Public Service Pay Commission process results in significant pay measures for nurses, including pay parity with therapy grades the General Secretary of the Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) told the union's Annual Delegate Conference meeting in Cavan today ( Thursday 12 th April.)
PNA General Secretary, Peter Hughes said:
‘ The PNA cannot and will not accept anything less than a significant meaningful recommendation by the Public Service Pay Commission to address nurses pay and Conference this morning mandated the union to support a ballot for industrial action, up to and including strike, if those pay measures do no come from the Pay Commission.'
‘Should the Public Service Pay Commission fail to recommend remedial pay measures then the chance for this country to resolve this impending crisis will be lost for a generation with very serious implications for the delivery and development of mental health services and patient care.'
Mr Hughes said a ‘culture of emigration' has developed for graduating Irish nurses, and recruitment and retention into the Irish health services will only be solved by significant increases in nurses pay. He said experts already predict that there is likely to be a significant push to recruit Irish nursing graduates in post Brexit UK and unless there are improvements in nurses pay which close the gap between salaries here and those available to nurses emigrating to UK, Australia and Canada, then the Irish health services will lose another generation of nursing graduates'.
Mr Hughes said the scale of the recruitment crisis facing the mental health services is stark.
I am pleased to bring you this report as General Secretary on the occasion of our 47th conference here in the Slieve Russell Hotel, Cavan. I would like to especially welcome Minister Daly and look forward to his address. I want to thank the Cavan/Monaghan Mental Health and Intellectual Disability branches for hosting conference.
As you know we have focussed a lot of attention on the recruitment and retention crisis in nursing, and I will return to this topic later. But for now I am pleased to be able to report to Conference that despite this crisis our PNA membership remains stable and has even increased in the past year.
The National Ambulance Representative Association (NASRA) membership continues to grow with a significant increase in the past six months. This is a reflection of the leadership, hard work and representation provided by Tony Gregg and Mick Dixon over the past seven years. Mick has recently retired from the position of Chairman of NASRA and Sinead McGrath has been elected as the new chairperson. I want to take this opportunity to thank Mick for all his work over the years and wish Sinead every success in the role.
For over seven years NASRA subscriptions have been deducted at source by HSE payroll, However, since last November the HSE are refusing to deduct subscriptions at source for new applicants. This is a total affront to the fundamental rights of employees to organise and to freedom of association. When we consider that the HSE deduct at source for the credit union, Banks, insurance companies, GAA draws, their behaviour in relation to NASRA members is absolutely shameful.
NASRA mounted a very strong protest outside the National Ambulance Services Central Payroll Department in Tullamore in February as the first step of resistance to this discriminatory action by the HSE. We will be intensifying our campaign to resolve this basic fundamental right to freedom of association in the coming weeks and will not desist until this matter is satisfactorily resolved.
I will be insisting that the HSE respect the wishes of paramedics nationally to join the union of their choice and to recommence the deductions forthwith.
IFESA continues its work on behalf of its members despite a disappointing outcome in the Court of Appeal on the issue of union recognition.
Delegates, the inadequacies and underinvestment in the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services have been highlighted at conferences for many years and in numerous other forums. I took the opportunity last June to outline the PNA's serious concerns regarding CAMHS to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services on no less than two occasions.
This was an important opportunity to outline the inadequate service provision for the Children and Adolescents experiencing mental health problems in Ireland.
For a country that purports again and again to put the best interests of our children first, the Report from the Committee published in October 2017 highlighted some stark facts. According to the United Nations Children's Emergency Report “Building the Future” published last year, when compared to 37 nations in the developed world, Ireland has the fourth highest teenage suicide rate.
The PNA said today (Wednesday) it was dismayed and extremely disappointed after the breakdown of talks (under the auspices of the WRC) yesterday with the HSE on the opening of the new acute mental health admission unit at University College Hospital Galway (UCHG).
The PNA said the collapse of the talks resulted from the HSE insistence that it would open just 45 of the 50 beds earmarked for the new Unit. This is in direct violation to the agreement on the closure of 22 beds in Ballinasloe in 2014 when management outlined that 50 beds would become operational in Galway.
During the failed negotiations, the PNA highlighted huge concerns over the high level of bed occupancy within the existing unit, and the absence of service developments such as homebased treatment, crisis intervention teams and 24/7 mental health services that would lead to a reduction in bed occupancy.
‘The 2015 HSE Review of Roscommon Mental Health Services, which was a shocking indictment of management of the services, showed that €17.6million was handed back to the HSE in the period 2012-2014 at a time when there was compelling evidence of the under-investment in the mental health services in the West to meet the targets set out in the government's Vision for Change mental health strategy.'
Please see below received from NMBI - Final Reminder that ARF payment facility is shut on 23rd March 2018 at 5 p.m.
Peter Hughes General Secretary
Full Text of Email Below:
ARF Removals Process Update
Annual Retentions Fees were due on or before 1 January 2018, and final reminder letters were issued on 13 February 2018.
We wish to advise you that we are now preparing the administrative process for removals from the Register.
The facility to pay ARF online through My Account and the NMBI Payments Line (1890 200 116) will shut on Friday 23 March 2018 at 5pm.
Removals from the Register
If you do not pay your fee the Board will consider the removal of your name from the Register for failure to pay the Annual Retention Fee in accordance with Section 77(1) of the Nurses and Midwives Act 2011.
The next Board meeting takes place on the week of Monday 26 March 2018 and the names of those who have not paid their ARF will be forwarded to the Board.
Please be reminded that once your name has been removed from the Register you are not entitled to practice as a nurse or midwife in Ireland. This includes clinical practice, nursing /midwifery management, education or research.
Once your name has been removed from the Register your status changes on the Register to “unregistered”, and you are sent a letter by NMBI to inform you of the change of status. In order to restore to the Register you must complete the Restoration Form (available from My Account and pay the new fee. This may take up to 10 working days.
We have been advised that the Public Service Pay Commission plan to carry out a survey “Engage to Change” of nurses, from students to Directors of Nursing, in the coming weeks to determine difficulties in relation to the recruitment and retention of nurses.
The survey is being undertaken by an Independent Research Company, Research Matters Ltd and will include online surveys and face to face interviews. The PNA have raised concerns to the Pay Commission in relation to the need to conduct this survey as it is clearly outlined in our submission to the commission the difficulties in relation to the recruitment and retention of nurses. HSE Management have also acknowledged and recognised the difficulties in recruiting and retaining in nurses. An abundance of evidence currently exists to substantiate the crisis in recruitment and retention of nurses.
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.
PNA General Secretary, Peter Hughes addressed the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Future of Mental Health Care on Thursday 1st Feb on the issue of the difficulties of recruitment into the mental health services.