Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Health, Billy Kelleher has said that he disappointed and concerned that the talks at the Workplace Relations Commission between the HSE and the various nursing unions have ended without agreement.

“Last night, we heard that the discussions between the HSE and SIPTU/INMO ended without agreement, and that no future meetings have been planned.

“Everyone accepts that there are gaps in the health system, and that more nurses are needed in particular areas.

“I am concerned that the HSE management have not, as of yet, developed a workforce plan, with associated cost projections, to address the current unsafe staffing levels.

“This should have been the starting point of any negotiations. It suggests to me that senior HSE management are waiting for direction from Minister Harris on what they can, or cannot, agree to.

“Minister Harris must ensure that the HSE have the resources necessary to fill the gaps in our health system. Week after week, we hear of bed closures, overcrowding, and deferred procedures because there are simply not enough nurses and doctors in the system.

“As well as ensuring that there are sufficient numbers of nurses in the system, both the unions and the HSE must also work towards aligning work practices with demand.

“Both sides need to come back to the negotiating table, and be willing to negotiate without preconditions,” concluded Kelleher.