Nurses secure pay for stress

IRISH psychiatric nurses are to get compensation for mental stress inflicted by patients in a groundbreaking scheme.

The Health Service Executive has finally agreed an insurance arrangement with the Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) after weeks of negotiations.

A sliding scale of compensation payments has been agreed for 53 different types of physical injuries caused by patients such as a broken nose or a fractured limb.

However, payments will also be available for post-traumatic stress caused by patient behaviour such as death threats or stalking activity.

It is believed to be the first time in Europe that psychiatric nurses will benefit from such a scheme, say the PNA.

Senior industrial relations officer Seamus Murphy said it was welcome news for the 7,000 psychiatric nurses.

Mr Murphy, who worked as a nurse for 25 years, said PNA members are being attacked every day by patients.

“The most common physical injuries are caused by punches or kicks and staff are also attacked by objects such as knives and fire extinguishers.”

The PNA intensified its campaign for compensation in 1993 after three psychiatric nurses were stabbed by a patient as they tried to escort him from his house in Artane in Dublin to St Ita’s Hospital in Portrane.

The Cabinet has formally approved the multi-million euro scheme.


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