Talks are due to take place at the Workplace Relations Commission tomorrow in a bid to avert planned strike action by nurses.

Nursing unions  referred the current dispute over pay and staff shortages to the WRC after today’s talks failed to reach a solution.

The HSE has confirmed that it will attend talks at the WRC .

A spokesperson said that management continued to engage in talks and discussions around contingency planning arrangements today and said that these discussions would continue.

Speaking following today’s meeting, INMO General Secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha said that no pay proposals were put forward at the meeting.

She said that cancellations of elective operations, procedures and outpatient appointments are likely to be announced which will have an impact on patients.

"This was a deeply disappointing meeting. The employer made no proposals to avert the upcoming strike," Ms Ni Sheaghdha said.

The General Secretary of the PNA said that given the dispute was due to take place within days, he expected that the management side would table proposals to resolve the dispute but that had not happened.

Peter Hughes confirmed that the PNA's industrial action will proceed, and that its National Executive will meet on Friday to finalise its plans.

The INMO has scheduled six 24-hour strikes by its 37,000 members on 30 January, as well as the 5, 7, 12, 13 and 14 February.

The 6,000 members of the PNA will refuse to do overtime on 31 January and the 1, 5, 6 and 7 February - escalating to strike action in tandem with the INMO on 12, 13 and 14 February.

The nurses argue that only an across the board pay rise of 12% - bringing them into line with other graduate health professionals - will incentivise nurses to join and stay in the profession. 

However, the Government argues that the €300m claim is unaffordable and would trigger knock-on claims across the public sector. 

Both the INMO and the PNA have rejected proposals from the Public Service Pay Commission for a €20m package of improved allowances and faster promotions, arguing that the proposals did not go far enough.

As yet it is unclear when the HSE will have to start cancelling operations, other procedures and outpatient appointments ahead of the industrial action starting on Wednesday week. 

SIPTU, which represents around 4,000 nurses, is not involved in the dispute.

In a statement, the Department of Health said that it was "not possible" to make progress in resolving the dispute today.

The department said that its management supported the referral of the issue to the WRC, and will cooperate with it.

It said Minister for Health Simon Harris urged the parties to continue to work towards reaching a resolution to the dispute.