Psychiatric nurses have voted to begin industrial action in protest over staff recruitment and retention across the mental health services.
In a national ballot, nurses voted 87% in favour of industrial action, up to and including strike action.
The Board of the Psychiatric Nurses Association will meet on Thursday to decide on what form of industrial action to take.
PNA general secretary Designate is Peter Hughes said: “We estimate that there’s 600 psychiatric nursing vacancies.
“A lot of newly-qualified psychiatric nurses emigrated to the UK and Australia because of the terms and conditions being offered to them.
“We believe that it’s now time to hold on. We need to have a two-pronged approach here – retain what we have and then on add on to that. So we’re calling for a significant number of extra training places.”
In a statement, the HSE said it is engaging with the PNA and will continue to do so, to resolve a number of issues identified by the union.