Siptu ’cautiously hopeful’ of resolution to nursing talks, but they see a definite role for the WRC

Siptu have today said they are "cautiously hopeful" concerning the outcome of talks with senior management at the Health Service Executive (HSE) and the Department of Health.

The talks are aimed at resolving a dispute concerning the recruitment and retention of nurses and midwives.

It comes just a day after the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) gave health service managers 24 hours to improve the proposals or face the likelihood of being served notice of industrial action as early as today.

Siptu’s health division organiser Paul Bell yesterday said the health service management needed to “get real” and treat the issue of staff recruitment and retention as a matter of urgency.

Today, Mr Bell said: "Unfortunately, we have been here before and our members will need to see immediate action if they are to have full confidence in the proposals that have emerged from these talks.

"We believe that the Minister for Health, Simon Harris is obliged to ensure that the key terms of these proposals are implemented in full and must involve himself in the promised oversight of the process to recruit nursing and midwifery professionals.

"It is obvious that more work needs to be done to address the legitimate concerns of our members, and in this regard, we see a definite role for the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC)."

Siptu’s Kevin Figgis said their National Nursing and Midwifery Committee met this afternoon after a long night of talks which finished at 4am this morning.

He said: "The outcome is a small step towards potentially increasing the level of nursing and midwifery posts, structured educational opportunities and provides a roadmap to fill any nursing professional vacancies, as they arise."

Siptu’s John McCamley said a structure that "can lay the foundations to restore nursing and midwifery staffing levels" may be possible.

He said: "The document offers additional scope for enhanced recruitment, enhanced educational opportunities and includes an assurance from management that all graduate nurses and midwives will be offered permanent jobs.

We are cautiously hopeful that this provides an opportunity to begin to meaningfully tackle the deficit in nursing and midwifery staffing levels."

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