SIPTU Health representatives have today (Tuesday, 7th February) confirmed that members are more than likely to ballot for strike action in a dispute over nursing and midwifery recruitment and retention. SIPTU Health Division Organiser, Paul Bell said: “Following a meeting with our National Nursing and Midwifery Committee we are committed to entering a dialogue with our membership concerning the lack of progress made with management in addressing staffing levels, recruitment and retention. This has resulted in a situation where our members are more than likely to decide to ballot for strike action in an attempt to force a solution to this dispute. “We believe that the management needs to get real and treat this serious issue as a matter of urgency. We remain open to any meaningful engagement with management in our efforts to resolve this long running dispute. “However, it is now obvious to all that if this Government is serious about recruiting and retaining the services of nursing professionals the Minister for Health, Simon Harris, must become visibly involved in the talks process. There is an urgent need for the Minister to provide a focus on creating the environment necessary to bring about a settlement of this dispute.” He added: “The Minister and the Department of Health have already accepted that there is a labour market crisis in our health service regarding nurses and midwives so now it is time for him to provide a solution that will end this emergency once and for all.” SIPTU Nursing representatives have accepted an invitation to talks with HSE and Department of Health officials at Dr. Steven’s Hospital, Dublin 8 at 5.00 p.m. today (Tuesday, 7th February).