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Mental Health Services

'Patients will suffer': Psychiatric nurses' overtime ban reinstated after pay talks break down

Fianna Fáil TD James Browne said the overtime ban will lead to service disruption and cancellations for patients.

THE PSYCHIATRIC NURSES Association has said its members will not work beyond contracted hours from tomorrow evening after pay talks at the Workplace Relations Commission broke down yesterday.

PNA has instructed its 6,000 members to commence previously suspended industrial action.

The dispute centres around demands for additional pay and incentives in order to tackle issues with recruitment and retention in mental health services.

Peter Hughes, PNA General Secretary said it was disappointing that psychiatric nurses found themselves having to take this action.

“Having suspended our strike action five months ago to enter in good faith in a talks process, PNA finds we are back in dispute and have been left with no option but to reinstate the action by members who will not work beyond their contracted hours starting from the beginning of the evening shift tomorrow,” Hughes said.  

“With 700 current vacancies and a haemorrhage of staff to better-paid posts in the private sector and abroad, the crisis in recruitment and retention of psychiatric nurses is growing by the week and cannot be allowed to continue.”

Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Mental Health James Browne said the collapse of these talks is “a very unwelcome development” that will “undoubtedly” lead to service disruption and cancellations for patients.

“These are services which are already under immense strain, and any changes to day to day practices will impact on patients,” Browne said. 

“Psychiatric nurses are essential to the smooth running of our mental health services and they feel that their concerns are not being listened to. Their frustration is symptomatic of the situation right across the health service as a result of the government’s failure to recruit and retain the necessary staff.

Browne called on Health Minister Simon Harris to engage with his officials and the PNA to bring this dispute to a resolution. “The current impasse must be addressed”.

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