Kerry Mental Health nurses are being forced to work over-time, days off and holidays, due to lack of staff and are suffering from burn-out as a result of the ongoing recruitment issues across the sector, it is claimed.
Siptu branch organiser Donal Doody has criticised what he calls “HSE recruitment bureaucracy” and has called for more staff to be recruited to mental health services in Kerry.
Mr Doody said there is an availability of mental health nurses in the county but they are not being hired.
“For the past 14 months there is a shortage of staff in the Kerry Mental Health services and staff are being continuously requested to come in and work their time off duty and during their holidays. The staff are obliging local management to come on duty and this is leading to burn-out amongst the staff. Overtime is then being paid to staff who work their time off duty,” he said.
He said this is as a result of the “procrastination of the HSE recruitment policy” and the repeated overtime is “costing a fortune”.
He said the delays in recruitment means that nurses are languishing on panels and young nurses who are qualified have been waiting for months to be recruited to Kerry Mental Health Services.
Mr Doody said mental health nurses who work in University Hospital Kerry and across the county are ‘exasperated’ by what is happening, forcing him to speak out this week.
“Staff are completely frustrated,” he said.
He has also raised concerns about what he claims is the failure to implement a 37.5 hour week, as agreed, and which was to be introduced in July.
He says staff are continuing to work 39-hour weeks due to staff shortages and that staff payments will have to be recalculated due to the delay in implementing the new roster which has been implemented for general nursing staff.