An Industrial Relations Officer with the Psychiatric Nurses Association says that action being taken by nurses in Waterford today will ensure that patients get the one-to-one attention they deserve.

Nurses will not co-operate with non-nursing duties, including answering phones and attending non-essential meetings. 

Michael Hayes said the situation in Waterford is a "continuously dark one" with overcrowding and staff shortages, and the situation is similar in Kilkenny.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, he said the situation is intolerable and nurses were simply seeking a respectful environment to treat patients in.

Mr Hayes said efforts to highlight the situation have been made since May last year, when a 16-year-old child was admitted to a chair in the Waterford unit.

"It is a continuously dark situation down there with overcrowding. We are over numbers on a consistent basis, half the time we're either short or we are overcrowded and the Kilkenny unit is in a similar situation."

The PNA said the proposed industrial action would affect services in the Department of Psychiatry at University Hospital Waterford and residential units at Grangemore, St Aidan's and Ard na Deise. 

The Health Service Executive says patients should continue to present for services as normal.