Over 35,000 nurses and midwives, all members of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO), have begun a third day of strike action.
Some 50,000 medical appointments were cancelled on Tuesday when the organisation held its second day of strike action, and thousands more, including all inpatient, outpatient and day surgery appointments, are set to be cancelled again today.
Other services affected include minor injury units, and public day centres and day hospitals for older people and people with disabilities, which are all closed.
According to the HSE, it is in ‘ongoing discussions with the INMO in relation to securing exemptions to allow for major surgeries to proceed'.
In the meantime, hospitals ‘will be in contact with patients to re-schedule their appointments and surgeries in due course', the HSE said.
The dispute centres on poor pay and understaffing. According to the INMO, nurses are ‘seeking to secure safe staffing levels in the health service through increases in pay to make the profession more attractive'.
Further strike days are planned for February 12, 13, 14, 19 and 21, if the issue is not resolved.
Meanwhile, psychiatric nurses who are members of the Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA), are currently refusing to work overtime as part of their industrial action, which also centres on poor pay and unsafe staffing levels.
They plan to strike on February 12, 13 and 14, which would coincide with the INMO strike.
Discussions on this topic are now closed.