Organsiations representing nurses in a dispute with the HSE and Department of Health ended in deadlock yesterday.

With no further meetings planned between the Irish Nurses' and Midwives' Organisation (INMO), SIPTU, the Health Service Executive (HSE), and Department officials, it is feared that strikes are looking more likely.

The INMO responded to the breakdown in talks at the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) by caliming that Health management has  no workforce plan.

A spokeswoman said: "Talks to address the staffing, recruitment, retention crisis facing nursing and midwifery, adjourned without agreement and with no progress being made.

"The talks involved the INMO and SIPTU unions and management consisting of officials from the Department of Health, Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and the HSE.

"It became clear that health service management have no funded workforce plan to address the current unsafe staffing levels.

"These staffing deficits are compromising patient care and  negatively impacting upon the health and safety of nurses and midwives.

"Health management, while acknowledging the crisis, confirmed no resources were available to address the current situation.

"INMO/SIPTU said this was totally unacceptable and, if allowed to continue, the crisis on recruitment and retention of nurses and midwives, would only deepen.

"Management side, have indicated they will attempt to produce a funded plan, for nurses/midwife staffing for 2017 by Friday.

"However, management refused to commit to restore staffing to 2008 levels.  This is despite official HSE figures confirming that at the end of 2016 there were 3,200 less nursing/midwifery posts, in the health service, as compared to the end of 2007.

"Although management declined to commit to restore staffing levels, they acknowledged that the nursing and midwifery workforce is critical to the delivery of safe, effective patient care and the health service is facing increasing demand year on year.

"This is an unacceptable and contradictory stance by management."

INMO's Executive Council will meet again next Monday, January 30, to decide on the future actions.

INMO General Secretary, Liam Doran said: “The meeting was very disappointing and confirmed that health service management are either unable, or unwilling, to address this crisis on both a short and medium term basis.

"The INMO Executive Council will meet on Monday and, in the absence of a radical change from management, in their efforts to address this issue, are likely to sanction industrial action following their recent ballot.”

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