It is only fitting that I should begin this particular editorial by recording my thanks, appreciation and gratitude to every delegate who attended the Organisation’s recent ADC in Kilkenny. I think everyone present will acknowledge that the conference was really excellent with a strong agenda, great speakers and a most enjoyable social side. All our thanks must go to the hardworking organising committee, from the Kilkenny Branch, who should now reflect on the excellence of their work and the fact that they have re-energised all of us to face the coming year.
This year’s conference was also noteworthy as it heard first time contributions from our new Minister for Health, Dr James Reilly, and the recently appointed Chief Executive of the HSE, Cathal Magee.
As is only proper, the Organisation gave both gentlemen a warm welcome as they outlined their respective visions with regard to how the health service must change, live within available resources and, all the while, deliver quality assured care to all patients and clients.
In listening to both of their keynote addresses it was striking to hear, again and again, their ready acknowledgement that nurses and midwives are absolutely key, and central, to delivering real change in all areas of the health service.
The Minister acknowledged that nursing and midwifery are the catalyst professions and without our insight, experience, expertise and commitment all of the changes so desperately needed will simply not happen. In parallel to this Mr Magee noted that nurses and midwives, above any other group of health professionals, have a scale of influence, insight and capacity that allows us to reach all parts of the service and to support real change and reform. In making these very valid, and accurate, statements, both stressed the current economic challenges and the ever growing demands for healthcare, driven by our changing demographics, which will have to be addressed and confronted in the coming years.
Obviously the INMO welcomes this overt recognition, by both the Minister and the HSE CEO, that change and reform can only be delivered by clinicians, working in the frontline. Therefore nurses and midwives, as the only 24/7 professionals in the health service, must lead and drive this change. However, and this is the real litmus test, we must now wait to see if these positive words are matched by the actions, and policy changes, necessary that will really take the health service to a better place.
As president Sheila Dickson said, in reply to the Minister, the INMO has no difficulty with implementing constructive, patient-friendly change and has no difficulty adopting leadership. However, this requires the old ways, where change was dictated from the top, to be set aside and the space given to those at the bedside to determine, with accountability, what patients require, how it should be delivered, who should provide it and where and when it should be provided.
Only time will tell whether both the Minister and the CEO will deliver on their words. We want them to deliver, we will work with them to deliver but they must drive forward this change programme, they must face down those who want centralised control to be maintained and, if they do all of this, they will find the INMO a very willing and able partner.
I also wish to acknowledge the powerful address from Sr Stanislaus Kennedy with regard to the misery behind human trafficking. Sr Stanislaus asked the INMO to continue our central role in the campaign for legislation that will prosecute those who abuse these vulnerable people and this we will certainly do.
So we have new major players on the health scene who have now, in a public forum, acknowledged the pivotal role of nurses and midwives. The words have been spoken and it is time for action and we cannot wait any longer for the real change both men have promised. It is time for delivery.
General Secretary, INMO
|Editorial - Time to deliver real change|