Drastic measures required due to shortfall in funding and staffing levels
People Before Profit fully support the decision of the Psychiatric Nurses Association members to go on strike in reaction to chronically low staffing levels in hospital and community services. The members of the PNA have voted by a margin of 87% for strike action.
People Before Profit industrial relations spokesperson, Bríd Smith, said “the levels of staffing in psychiatric wards at both the hospital and community level are disastrously low. It is quite clear that the past government and the current government, have totally disregarded the importance of mental health services. What we in People Before Profit are saying is that the mental health budget should be doubled from 6% of the health budget to 12%. We are also calling for a massive increase in the field of mental health nursing.
“The PNA nurses are absolutely right to vote for strike action and further more I would call on all unions involved in the delivery of the health service to follow suit and ballot for strike action. A united front would pile real pressure on the government to implement the changes that are required for the health service and end the recruitment embargo.
“It is quite clear that the recruitment embargo needs to be stopped and new nurses should be employed immediately. We need to bring the numbers of mental health staff up to 12,000 immediately to deal with this situation. The embargo on recruitment has been disastrous for the health service in general and for mental health services in particular.
“Pay for nurses is also a massive factor that needs to be addressed if we are to stop nurses, newly qualified and current, from going to the UK. People Before Profit will be putting forward a motion in the Dail during Private Members Time to repeal the FEMPI legislation which has capped the pay of nurses and implemented a two-tier pay structure in the health service, and amongst all public servants. We need to recruit more nurses and pay them properly.”