Members voted in favour of the proposals by a margin of 82%
Members of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) have voted to accept proposals to begin addressing the current staffing crisis.
Members voted by a margin of 82% in favour of the proposals, following nationwide workplace ballots.
The proposals also aimed to address the current recruitment & retention crisis in the nursing and midwifery industry.
These proposals emerged following talks chaired by the Workplace Relations Commission and contain a number of measures.
These measures include increasing the nursing & midwifery workforce by over 1,200, to over 37,000, before the end of this year.
Offering permanent positions to all nurses & midwives currently on panels, and all nurse/midwife graduates from 2016/2017.
Other measures include more flexible permanent contracts, a pre-retirement scheme and increased numbers of undergraduate and postgraduate places for nurses and midwives.
The INMO said they will now look to progress the full implementation of the proposals, which will be overseen by a national implementation group involving senior officials from the Department of Health/HSE and the INMO.
Speaking this afternoon INMO President Martina Harkin-Kelly said "Our members, in accepting these proposals, are stating quite clearly, that they represent just the first step, in a three year programme, which must see nurse/midwife employment levels increase to over 40,000 from its current level of 35,600."
The members stressed that "The issue of pay must be prioritised, progressed and addressed as part of the public service pay talks scheduled for May.
"The Organisation will now prepare for these talks and the government must now move from simply talking about the recruitment & retention crisis and agree concrete measures, which must involve pay, when we engage with them in May."
Minister for Health Simon Harris has since welcomed the INMO's vote saying "I am delighted that the INMO nurses and midwives have voted to accept the recent proposals agreed at the WRC.
"The measures that were proposed by management and agreed with the INMO and SIPTU Nursing will significantly improve the staffing of nursing and midwifery posts in the public health service and offer serving and new nurses and midwives enhanced opportunities to advance their careers."
"Some of the changes we have agreed will take time to embed into the service and I would ask nurses and midwives to rest assured that the working environment will improve."