Tuesday 20 August 2019

Psychiatric nurses suspend overtime ban following crunch talks

A placard at a previous PNA demonstration in Dublin. Photo: Doug O'Connor
A placard at a previous PNA demonstration in Dublin. Photo: Doug O'Connor

Evie Kearney

Psychiatric nurses have suspended their overtime ban will be suspended following "intensive" talks with the Health Service Executive (HSE).

The Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) had stopped working past their minimum contracted hours on Thursday in a row over staffing.

Announcing the deferral on Friday night, the PNA said they have received a number of assurances from the HSE, with details to be finalised on Wednesday.

A PNA spokesperson said in a statement on Twitter: "The Psychiatric Nurses Association this evening said it is suspending its withdrawal of overtime following intensive talks with the HSE at which PNA received assurances on a number of issues at the centre of the PNA action.

"There will be direct engagement with the employer next week to conclude on Weds to finalise details of issues agreed at today’s talks. PNA Officer Board will meet on Thurs to review progress of the talks  with HSE against the background of the suspended withdrawal of overtime."

The HSE has welcomed the PNA's decision to defer the overtime ban that caused significant disruption to mental health services this week.

In a statement, the HSE said it "looks forward to engaging with the PNA in the coming week with a view to resolving the issues under discussion."

The overtime ban was originally declared in response to the "lack of any meaningful progress" with their long-running pay dispute over recruitment and retention issues.

The PNA initially suspended industrial action alongside the Irish Nurses and Midwives' Organisation on February 20.

The INMO accepted a €35m deal over the dispute, but issues in the mental health services remained unresolved.

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