A special delegate conference of the IMPACT health sector union has voted unanimously to give the Health Service Executive and Government three months to restore what it says is lost confidence in the health reform programme.

A ballot of the union's 27,000 health staff will be sought in May if union concerns by that time are not resolved.

Earlier, the trade union warned that a summer of industrial action across the health services was likely, unless urgent changes to the HSE were made.

The union said it was frustrated with service problems; its members work in the HSE in administration and management grades, and also include community care public health staff, physiotherapists, nurses and residential care.

Kevin Callinan, National Secretary of the union's health division, told 250 delegates that ordinary staff were trying to hold the service together and that morale is at rock bottom.

He said that uncertainty and confusion were the only defining characteristics two years into the HSE experiment and he claimed the Government was detached from people's real concerns.

Mr Callinan claimed the Government was obsessed with administrative reforms, high cost outside consultants, employment ceilings and privatisation.