O’Reilly calls on government to reach agreement with Psychiatric Nurses
Speaking during Leaders Questions in the Dáil today, Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Louise O’Reilly TD called on the government to reach an agreement with members of the Psychiatric Nurses Association in order to avert industrial action over the lack of progress in talks to address recruitment and retention issues facing mental health services.
Teachta O’Reilly said:
“Industrial action by members of the Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) - in the form of an overtime ban – is the end result of a lack of progress from government in talks to address recruitment and retention issues facing mental health services.
“This action by psychiatric nurses comes as no surprise given the performance of the government in these talks.
“Such an overtime ban would have no impact if mental health services were adequately staffed. However, we do not have a properly staffed service; indeed, in some areas of the services, these shortages amount to 20% of nursing staff and nationally we know there are some 700 nursing vacancies.
“This is the same recruitment and retention crisis that saw nurses and midwives across the State out on the picket lines earlier this year, and while members of the INMO concluded a deal with the government after their strike action, no agreement was reached with the PNA.
“For over five months now, the PNA and psychiatric nurses have been working hard to deescalate this situation, yet little progress has been made with government.
“All the while, their members have been holding the services together through their overtime work.
“If the recruitment and retention crisis in mental health is to be addressed and the goodwill of psychiatric nurses restored, then it requires a clear demonstration of urgency and commitment from the HSE, and the government need to engage with the PNA and reach an agreement in order to address the situation.”