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HSE Talks with Galway Psychiatric Nurses must be meaningful – Senator Trevor O’Clochartaigh

28 May, 2015

Galway based Sinn Féin Senator Trevor O’Clochartaigh has given a cautious welcome to the renewal of talks between the HSE and the Psychiatric Nurses Association with the Labour Relations Commission but states that the HSE must ensure that the talks are meaningful and not just a tactic by the HSE to stall industrial action.

O’Clochartaigh said:

“Having met with the Psychiatric Nurses Association recently, I am acutely aware of the circumstances in which they are working in University Hospital Galway.

“The closure of St Brigid’s acute psychiatric unit over sixteen months ago has put huge pressure on staff working in the acute psychiatric unit of the Hospital.

"There is a growing concern around patient and staff safety and a shortage of basic necessities such as alarms etc and a Mental Health Commission report identified serious issues with the facilities available in the unit.

“There are reports also that up to 30 staff have been assaulted this year alone. This is completely unacceptable.

“The manner in which the staff have been treated by the HSE is truly shocking with reports that staff have been threatened with sanctions for highlighting and taking action against this unsustainable situation.

“The truth of the matter is that the HSE has badly failed in their duty of care towards these staff, who despite everything have managed to ensure that front line services are delivered to the patients who require their care.

“In the same week that we find out that the Government could be facing EU fines for failing to comply with the Working Time Directive for junior doctors, it is time for the HSE to step up to the plate once and for all and ensure that the very real concerns of our front line health workers are addressed.”

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