HSE says pay was the sticking point in collapse of talks with Emergency Department nurses

Minister says better paid nurses will not solve overcrowding problem

Updated 13.00

The HSE has confirmed that pay was the issue behind a breakdown of talks between it and the union representing Emergency Department (ED) nurses.

After the collapse of talks at the Workplace Relations Commission last night, a strike is almost certain to go ahead next week.

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation has called for an incentivised recruitment package to attract staff from private hospitals and abroad to fill the 144 ED nurse vacancies.

The union has also raised the issue of retention payments for nurses.

But, speaking to Newstalk earlier, the Health Minister says better paid ED nurses will not solve overcrowding.

Leo Varadkar said better paid nurses will not ease the crisis in Irish hospitals: 

Meanwhile, Rosarii Mannion, National Director of Human Resources for the HSE confirmed on Newstalk Lunchtime that pay is the sticking point:

"Significant progress was made in relation to seven issues around insurance, staffing, health and safety, recruitment and retention, and management structure, however, the issue that we were not able to progress satisfactorily was in relation to nurse pay and incremental credit."

Deputy General Secretary of the INMO Dave Hughes says the union believes the HSE will have to offer financial incentives to win new recruits, and he wants retention payments for existing staff: 

He is insisting the strike is designed to help patients:

"The public who have to attend Emergency Departments because they need emergency care are not getting the service that they deserve. They are many of them sitting in Departments for far too long. When they are admitted to the hospital bed there is no hospital bed. So instead of the Emergency Department dealing with emergency patients it is dealing with admitted patients, and nobody is getting proper care."

Affected hospitals

Two hour rolling strikes are set to start at seven of the country's hospitals on Tuesday.

Emergency Departments at Beaumont and Tallaght hospitals in Dublin, at Mercy University Hospital in Cork, University Hospital in Waterford, Cavan General Hospital, Midlands Regional Hospital in Tullamore and University Hospital Galway will be affected.