Overtime ban for psychiatric nurses is deferred to allow for talks 

Overtime ban for psychiatric nurses is deferred to allow for talks 

An overtime ban for psychiatric nurses was deferred on Wednesday evening to allow for urgent Labour Court talks.

The Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) suspended its action where members would only work their contracted hours after accepting the referral at the request of the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC).

The action, which would have seen thousands of psychiatric nurses across Cork and Ireland recommence a ban on overtime, came after more than 200 nursing posts were approved to alleviate the reliance on overtime and agency staff throughout the services.

Around 6,000 members of the PNA took part in a 12 hour overtime ban earlier this month over a dispute with the HSE which centres on issues such as working conditions and short-staffing.

The PNA blamed the escalation on the HSE’s failure to address their concerns.

PNA Industrial Relations Officer for the southern region, Michael Hayes had said services are propped up by overworked staff taking on overtime hours.

“It is only the goodwill of our staff and our members that is keeping these services open and that’s the reality of it.” He added that hundreds of thousands of euro is spent each year on overtime pay in the Cork/Kerry region alone.

“Cork and Kerry has one of the biggest overtime bills and that’s down to a lack of staff.” 

A spokesperson for Cork/Kerry Community Healthcare admitted earlier this month that the withdrawal of cooperation with overtime posed “huge challenges” in delivering safe services across Cork and Kerry.

Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Mental Health James Browne had warned that any overtime ban would “lead to service disruption and cancellations for patients”.

He called on Health Minister Simon Harris to engage with the HSE and the PNA to bring the dispute to a resolution.

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