Mental health services at crisis point, PNA warns

Mental health services at crisis point, PNA warns
General secretary of the Psychiatric Nurses Association Peter Hughes. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

The Psychiatric Nurses Association is warning that mental health services are at crisis point with staff shortages set to worsen.

Today is the second day of the PNA Annual Conference in Wexford, where delegates will comment later on yesterday's INMO ballot in favour of a government pay deal.

However, PNA General Secretary Peter Hughes says it is hard to understand how the HSE solution to the ongoing staffing row is to order a new embargo on recruitment.

"We have a ridiculous situation where we're in the middle of a dispute and engagement in relation to resolving a retention recruitment crisis and the HSE have issued an embargo on recruitment.

"I called for the HSE to immediately lift that embargo and give a for mental health and give a derogation for mental health and intellectual disability services," he said.

Yesterday, Mr Hughes told the conference that the recruitment and retention crisis shows no signs of easing with emigration of psychiatric nursing graduates, the attraction of better pay and conditions in the private sector.

Mr Hughes added that the near collapse of mental health services in some parts of the country during the recent PNA ban on overtime highlighted the reliance of the services on overtime and agency staff, and the lack of staff throughout the system.

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