The large number of candidates is surprising given the fact that staff nursing shortages have been blamed for the closure of CAMHS services.
The Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) has expressed concern at the figure due to the huge demand for mental health services nationally. A spokesperson for the PNA has said “it makes no sense whatsoever”.
“We cannot understand how there could be nurses on a recruitment register given the level of demand for services across the country in CAMHS and acute psychiatric services,” the spokesperson stated.
“Currently there are 66 CAMHS beds open and there should be 100. We should have 15 day hospitals within mental health services open; there are currently four.
“There is no shortage of demand for services to be staffed fully so it makes no sense that there are nurses available and they are not being recruited.”
A HSE spokesperson told this newspaper that “there are currently 91 staff nurse mental health CAMHS candidates on the HBS [Health Business Service] Recruit National Staff Nurse Mental Health Panel”.
A psychiatric nurse with CAMHS experience currently working in community adult mental health has said that he has been trying to secure a CAMHS role for the past seven years.
“The truth is CAMHS are full up outside of the inpatient services, if you want a job in CAMHS your only choice is one of the four inpatient facilities working weekends, bank holidays and doing 12-hour shifts with little or no hope of career progression,” the nurse explained.
Earlier this year, General Secretary of the PNA, Mr Peter Hughes, during an address to the Oireachtas Future of Mental Health Care Committee, raised the issue of bed closures within CAMHS due to nurse staff shortages.
“In May 2017, 50 per cent of the admission beds in Linn Dara, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) in Dublin were closed until the end of October, ie, 11 of the 22 beds were closed. This was directly due to nursing shortages as the service was short 50 per cent of the complement of nurses.”