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Psychiatric nurses have commenced industrial action at Waterford University Hospital

Industrial action has also escalated in Kilkenny.

Image: Shutterstock/toeytoey

PSYCHIATRIC NURSES AT Waterford University Hospital today started their industrial action in response to overcrowding and staffing issues.

Today’s commencement of industrial action in the Department of Psychiatry and in residential units at Grangemore, St Aiden’s 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 Luke’s Acute Psychiatric Unit in Kilkenny, where there were 50 patients in the 44 bed unit at the weekend, nurses there are escalating their industrial action which has been in place since December.

A statement from the Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) explained how, in both cases, nurses 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.

He said: ‘The message to the HSE from today is clear – the current levels of overcrowding in psychiatric units in Waterford and Kilkenny cannot be allowed to continue.

“These vital services cannot be delivered adequately and safely in facilities that are regularly overcrowded and understaffed.

‘The demand on the mental health services in Waterford and Kilkenny, as in the rest of the country, is constant, and growing.

“The current facilities are proving again and again that there is not the capacity to meet those demands and nurses are demanding that the HSE set out clearly how the issues arising from overcrowding and understaffing are going to be resolved in Waterford and Kilkenny once and for all.”

Late last year, the PNA highlighted how a lack of resources meant two people admitted to the mental health unit at University Hospital Waterford (UHW) had to spend the night on chairs.

Peter Hughes, the PNA’s General Secretary, said accommodating patients on chairs because of the lack of beds is intolerable for patients and their families and upsetting for staff.

Read: ‘Totally unacceptable’: Two people spend night on chairs in mental health unit >

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