Thursday, 11 July 2019
Ceisteanna ó Cheannairí - Leaders' Questions
Louise O'Reilly (Dublin Fingal, Sinn Fein)
The Tánaiste's response will do absolutely nothing to encourage psychiatric nurses to undertake overtime. It is not the first time they have done this and it should not come as a surprise. I was on my tools the last time they did it in 2007. It did have a devastating impact but it did bring the parties to the table and it brought a resolution. The Tánaiste did not address the issue of the recruitment embargo. We need to get to the heart of this because people on the ground know that there is a recruitment embargo in place. They see its impact every day of the week. If there was no recruitment embargo in place and if the Government had cracked the recruitment and retention crisis they could be involved in an overtime ban every day of the week and it would have no impact. It is having a devastating impact purely and simply because the service is effectively being run by overtime, agency and locum. That is no way to run our mental health services. It is no way to plan for future mental health services.
The Tánaiste did a very good job of describing the situation and said very little about what he and the Government are going to do about it. This is a very serious issue. It requires commitment. They have been five months at the WRC. If progress was being made, believe me, they would be back in work, doing overtime. They have no faith that progress is being made. What is the Government going to do about it?