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Nurses in Mental Health Service Have No Option Except Industrial Action

The news that nurses, who are working at the acute psychiatric unit at University College Hospital in Galway, have voted with a 90% majority for industrial action on the twin issues of staffing and safety on Tuesday is further evidence of the neglect that the Government and the HSE are showing to mental health services in the western region .Only two weeks ago I called for Minister Varadkar to personally intervene and I called on the Minister to replace the people who are responsible for this crisis if they are not able to do their jobs properly. However it would seem that the Minister and the Government do not care, and it is left to the nurses who are at the coal face and who have to deal with the shortcomings of the service every day of the week to threaten industrial action to try to highlight the problems that exist. Frankly it is a disgrace. I have sought meetings on various issues including the threat to the Rosalie Unit in Castlerea in recent weeks without any success, and I am deeply frustrated with the attitude of the Government and the HSE when it comes to mental health services in this region. Maybe the government are hoping that public representatives like myself and others are going to go away and give up on this issue. But I can assure Minister Varadkar and the HSE that I will be redoubling my efforts to highlight these problems at every possible level until the fears of the nurses and staff in the service are allayed, and the patients receive the treatment and the services to which they are entitled.