SIPTU Nursing representatives have today (Wednesday, 8th February) said they are cautiously hopeful concerning the outcome of talks with senior management at the Health Service Executive (HSE) and the Department of Health aimed at resolving a dispute concerning the recruitment and retention of nurses and midwives. SIPTU Health Division Organiser, Paul Bell, said: “Unfortunately, we have been here before and our members will need to see immediate action if they are to have full confidence in the proposals that have emerged from these talks. We believe that the Minister for Health, Simon Harris is obliged to ensure that the key terms of these proposals are implemented in full and must involve himself in the promised oversight of the process to recruit nursing and midwifery professionals. It is obvious that more work needs to be done to address the legitimate concerns of our members, and in this regard, we see a definite role for the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC).” SIPTU Sector Organiser, Kevin Figgis, said: “Our National Nursing and Midwifery Committee met this afternoon (Wednesday, 8th February) to discuss proposals after a long night of talks concluded at 4.00 a.m. this morning. The outcome is a small step towards potentially increasing the level of nursing and midwifery posts, structured educational opportunities and provides a roadmap to fill any nursing professional vacancies, as they arise.”  SIPTU Organiser, John McCamley, said: “After difficult and intense negotiations over the past number of weeks, a structure that can lay the foundations to restore nursing and midwifery staffing levels is potentially in place. The document offers additional scope for enhanced recruitment, enhanced educational opportunities and includes an assurance from management that all graduate nurses and midwives will be offered permanent jobs. We are cautiously hopeful that this provides an opportunity to begin to meaningfully tackle the deficit in nursing and midwifery staffing levels.”