INMO members vote in favour of industrial action

The action is likely to start in February 2017

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Nurses and midwives belonging to the INMO have voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action.

The group say 90% of its members voted for the action with a 62% turnout.

The industrial action is likely to commence in early February 2017.

The dispute is in relation to staffing, recruitment and retention across the service.

In a statement, the INMO says: "This ballot took place with members expressing great concern over staffing levels, the resulting negative impact upon patient care, concern over their own ability to practice safely and the total disrespect, shown by health employers, towards nurses and midwives, by failing to actively recruit and retain nursing and midwifery staff.

"In that context official figures confirm that nurse/midwife staffing levels are still 3,500 less, than the numbers employed in 2008, with the health service continuing to face ever growing complex demands."

The organisation say it will now write directly to Health Minister Simon Harris, and the director-general of the HSE Tony O’Brien, calling for immediate round table talks.

Health Minister Simon Harris says: "It is regrettable that the INMO has voted in favour of industrial action.

"While I understand that our health service faces serious challenges on recruitment and retention, industrial action is not the solution.

"It will not reduce the numbers of patients on trolleys in emergency departments, will not reduce the waiting lists or improve service delivery and could lead to the cancellation of elective surgeries.

"The proposed action will not assist efforts to attract nurses to work in the public health service in Ireland.

"The HSE is focused on recruitment and retention of nurses and midwives and, as announced yesterday, is running an open recruitment event from 28th to 30th December in Dr Steevens’ Hospital for nurses and midwives from all disciplines who are interested in working in the Irish Public Health Service."