HEALTH Minister James Reilly has cancelled his attendance at the annual Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) conference due to illness.
The minister's top official, Secretary General Ambrose McLoughlin, will instead deliver his speech to the delegates who have raised concerns about the safety condition in hospitals.
They are calling for acute medical and surgical hospital wards to have a minimum of one nurse on duty for every four patients.
And there should be one midwife present in maternity units and hospitals for every 29 births, the INMO was told.
Mr Reilly was due to address their concerns in Kilkenny today. Visits to Cork and Waterford have also been called off.
A spokesman for Dr Reilly said he was suffering from an infection and would not be available for public engagements tomorrow either.