Psychiatric nurses are taking action to highlight a lack of resources at Waterford and Kilkenny.
The members of the PNA at University Hospital Waterford and in residential units at Grangemore, St. Aidens and Ard na Deise are not co-operating with non nursing duties.
Meanwhile, in a direct response to the continuing overcrowding in St Lukes Acute Psychiatric Unit, in Kilkenny (where there were 50 patients in the 44 unit at the weekend) nurses there are escalating their industrial action, which has been in place since December last, to the next phase.
The PNA’s Michael Hayes says members believe both patient care and staff safety is being compromised.
He observed: “Our members have decided to take this action, not just to safeguard their health and safety, but obviously that of their patients.
“The message to the HSE from today is clear – the current levels of overcrowding in psychiatric units in Waterford and Kilkenny cannot be allowed to continue.
“These vital services cannot be delivered adequately and safely in facilities that are regularly overcrowded and understaffed.”
HSE response to query from WLR news
The HSE would like to reassure the public that all of the staff within the South East Community Healthcare mental health services are committed to the provision of a quality and safe mental health service to the population it serves.
The 44 bed Dept. of Psychiatry (DoP) acute mental health unit in Waterford is located on the grounds of University Hospital Waterford and serves the Waterford/Wexford catchment area.
An excellent team is in place at the DoP in Waterford to serve the needs of all those who require treatment and support. There are 45 Whole Time Equivalent (WTE) nursing posts in place there, in addition to other medical, specialist and support staff.
The HSE continues to work with staff representatives in the development of mental health services at acute and community level across the South East. Meetings, as part of ongoing engagement with the Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA), will be taking place in that respect.
Patients should continue to present for services as normal.