The nurses strike scheduled for seven hospital emergency departments tomorrow has been called off pending Irish Nurses and Midwives' Organisation members balloting on a new set of proposals, the union said after talks at the Workplace Relations Commission.

INMO and Health Service Executive representatives had been meeting at the WRC throughout the day and evening and a decision to avert the stoppage was announced shortly after 11pm. 

One key issue on the table was how incremental credit and pay for student nurses would be handled.

It is understood that there may be a proposal for those issues to be dealt with in an accelerated process under an independent adjudicator.

Even with the two-hour stoppages in the emergency departments being called off, hundreds of non-emergency procedures had already been cancelled for tomorrow. 

Earlier, the Irish Patients Association said that it was not backing the strike, as it would cause more suffering to patients than they were already experiencing.

Spokesperson Stephen McMahon also noted that private hospitals would not be affected, so the strike would reinforce the two-tier nature of hospital treatment for public patients.

This morning, Minister for Health Leo Varadkar said that the WRC had been involved in talks over the weekend in an attempt to prevent the planned industrial action.

Mr Varadkar said that the INMO had called the action and ultimately it was they who could call it off.

He said that an agreement was possible but repeated his position that it could not breach the Lansdowne Road Agreement.

The rolling two-hour strikes were due to take place tomorrow in seven hospitals.

These were: Beaumont Hospital, Dublin (8-10am); Mercy University Hospital, Cork (8-10am); Tallaght Hospital, Dublin (10am-12noon); Cavan General Hospital (10am-12noon); University Hospital, Waterford (12-2pm); Midlands Regional Hospital, Tullamore (12-2pm); and University Hospital Galway (2-4pm).