The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) says it still does not know how many new nurses will be recruited this year after the HSE delayed releasing figures for new recruits.
The numbers for 2018 were scheduled to be released last November under an agreement reached between the INMO and the HSE at the Workplace Relations Commission.
The matter has now been referred back to the WRC.
David Hughes, Deputy General Secretary of the INMO says the service has also lost a large number of staff members this year due to retirement.
"The health service can't recruit as it is and at the moment you would be running at just about the same number that we had last year or a little bit less," he said.
"They're not identifying even at this stage how many they actually need.