SIPTU nursing representatives have expressed their support for Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) proposals, released today (Friday, 5th August), which are aimed at improving the recruitment and retention of psychiatric nurses within the mental health services. SIPTU Health Division Organiser, Paul Bell, said: “We welcome this development. SIPTU representatives have worked hard to ensure our members in the mental health services are recognised for the massive contribution they make. These proposals go some way to giving this recognition to our members and ensuring those they care for have the level of service they need.” He added: “Our members now expect the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform to accept these proposals and get on with the job of implementing them.” SIPTU Health Division President and psychiatric nurse, Padráig Peyton, said: “The talks process which has resulted in these proposals was long and arduous. The proposal to introduce a payment recognising the crucial role of mental health nurses within the community is welcomed. Such a payment is badly needed and the failure to provide one has, without doubt, negatively impacted on the recruitment and retention of nurses working in mental health services.  “There are currently in excess of 600 vacancies within mental health nursing services and this is set to increase by another 400 due to pending retirements. The implementation of these WRC proposals will assist in relieving the growing crisis in our mental health services.”