Psych nurses agree deal

The threatened escalation from today of a psychiatric nurses dispute will not go ahead after an 11th hour agreement was reached at the Workplace Relations Commission.

The dispute over the recruitment and retention of nurses, which began on June 29, had initially involved a work-to-rule by 4,500 nurses, but was due to escalate today to the point where they would refuse to co-operate with roster changes.

However, a package of 12 proposals was agreed at the commission yesterday, including: n An additional 60 psychiatric nurse training places to be provided this year and 70 more next year. 40 postgrad places will be offered to nurses from other disciplines to train as psychiatric nurses from January 2017. n All temporary nurses and 2016 graduates will be offered permanent posts. n A working group will be set up immediately to report before the end of the year on the implementation of 24/7 Home Based Crisis Services Pilot Projects in 2017. n Management of the Serious Physical Assault Scheme has been reviewed to ensure the assaulted nurse’s full pay is maintained and his/her sick pay entitlements protected.

In addition, the process of recruiting a psychiatric nurse is not to exceed 28 days. A working group will drive implementation of the agreement. Psychiatric Nurses Association general secretary designate Peter Hughes said the agreement was essential to deliver mental health services.

“This dispute has been a difficult process, but Psychiatric Nurses Association members have been determined that a number of outstanding issues on the recruitment and retention of psychiatric nurses had to be addressed by the HSE and Department of Health in order to ensure the provision of a quality mental health service,” Mr Hughes said.

The agreement was welcomed by Health Minister Simon Harris and Mental Health Minister Helen McEntee. It brings an end to six weeks of industrial action.

Separately, Siptu said that it had secured agreement on the payment schedule for a community allowance for nurses in the mental health services following talks with HSE management at the Workplace Relations Commission.


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