€13 million Killarney facility remains closed following union’s rejection of WRC proposal

A €13 million Killarney facility remains closed following the rejection of a Workplace Relations Commission proposal by members of the Kerry Branch of the Psychiatric Nurses’ Association.

The HSE had planned to open Deer Lodge in Killarney yesterday, however PNA threatened to picket the facility if their concerns with regards staffing ratios were not addressed.

Following a meeting with the WRC, union members unanimously rejected interim proposals before pledging future pickets if comprehensive agreement on staffing is not reached.

Deer Lodge, a new €13 million, 40 bed mental health unit at St. Margaret’s Road, Killarney, is replacing the O’Connor Unit on the grounds of St. Finian’s Hospital.

A Workplace Relations Commission conciliation conference between the HSE and unions took place in Killarney to address the transfer of services and staffing issues.

The HSE set out a staffing model ratio of 33% Health Care Assistant (HCA) to 66% nursing staff.

PNA members believe the number of HCAs proposed for Deer Lodge is too high in the context of the service delivery demands set out by the Mental Health Commission.

They citied other mental health centres around the country with 10% HCA to 90% nursing ratio.

The WRC interim proposal was unanimously rejected; a further meeting is expected to take place in April and the issue may be referred to the Labour Court.