Second union rejects bid to end psych unit impasse

A second nurses’ union has rejected proposals aimed at ending an impasse that has already caused a four-month delay in the opening of a €15m acute psychiatric unit at Cork University Hospital.

Last night, members of the Psychiatric Nurses’ Association (PNA) followed in the footsteps of Siptu mental health nurses at CUH, which earlier this week voted down the latest proposals from the Labour Relations Commission. A PNA spokesperson said 80% of its members voted no.

Approximately 40 mental health nurses due to transfer to the 50-bed facility have refused to do so on grounds that the HSE has not addressed all of their clinical concerns, chiefly the proposal to boost staffing numbers through the use of healthcare assistants as well as failure to open a six-bed high observation unit.

A spokesperson for the PNA said last night she did not know where the dispute, which has been to the LRC four times since January, could go from here.

However, the HSE said they would be seeking a Labour Court hearing urgently to seek a resolution.

The HSE said the new unit was “ready to open”.

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