A brand new, purpose-built, 50-bed unit for acute mental patients lies idle today, two months after it was scheduled to open, because of an ongoing row over staff rosters.
The facility, which was six years in planning and cost €15m to build, is housed within the Cork University Hospital campus.
The HSE put a proposal forward, whereby the unit would be run with 55 full time staff on a 24-hour roster. Unions said this was not enough, however.
After assessing similar facilities, the HSE insists the staffing levels proposed are adequate. 50 nurses and five healthcare assistants represent an increase on the 40 staff currently working on the existing unit.
But both SIPTU and the Psychiatric Nurses Association have rejected the HSE’s proposal. Moreover, they have insisted that their members will not transfer to the new unit until their concerns are resolved.
The row is set to continue until the deadlock is resolved.