Psychiatric nurses to be balloted on industrial action over 'chronic staff shortages'

Psychiatric Nurses Association says there are currently up to 600 nursing vacancies around the country

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Psychiatric nurses across the country are to be balloted on industrial action up to and including strike.

The Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) has announced the move in response to 'chronic' staffing shortages in mental health services, with members to be balloted over the next two weeks.

The union says there are as many as 600 vacancies nationwide.

They say that there are 58 additional workers needed in the Intellectual Disability service in the north Dublin area alone.

The PNA says it has no faith in the HSE's ability to put a proper nursing workforce in place.

PNA General Secretary Designate, Peter Hughes, said, "the shortage of nurses is at crisis proportions and the Government and the HSE have shown indifference to the forecasted staffing needs of the mental health services.

"The result is that staff have been left struggling just to maintain current acute and community services with no prospect of investing in the development of new services," he added.