Members of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation have voted to accept proposals put forward during talks at the Workplace Relations Commission to address the staffing crisis.

The proposals were passed by a margin of 82%.
They include increasing the number of nurses and midwives by more than 1,200 by the end of 2017, bringing the total number to over 37,000; permanent positions will be offered to all nurses and midwives currently on panels, and all nurse and midwife graduates from 2016/201.

There will also be increased incentives to attract Irish nurses and midwives back from overseas, particularly the UK.
Allowances that were no longer available to new entrants will also be restored.

In a statement 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.
"Our members have also said to us ... that, in addition to these measures, the issue of pay must be prioritised, progressed and addressed as part of the public service pay talks scheduled for May."

Minister for Health Simon Harris said he is "delighted" that the INMO nurses and midwives have voted to accept the recent proposals agreed at the WRC.

"I am pleased to say that we are emerging from a period of cost cutting measures including a moratorium on recruitment.

"We have turned the corner and recruitment is underway in the public health sector to resource and develop our services. In the past two years the number of nurses and midwives has increased by over 1,300. 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."