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INO Launches Book To Celebrate Its Presidencies Of European Associations. 05/03/07


PRESS RELEASE,  Monday, March 5th, 2007

The Irish Nurses Organisation launched a book today entitled “Forming EU Healthcare Policy: A showcase of Irish Involvement” at a lunch in Dublin Castle hosted by Minister for Health and Children Mary Harney, TD who also sponsored the book.

The book is a portrayal of the INO’s contribution to EU and international policy since its inception.  The influence of the INO is particularly evident in 2007 as four members of the Organisation lead the Presidencies of four European associations as follows:

  • President of the European Federation of Nurses Associations – Annette Kennedy, Director of Professional Development;  
  • President of the European Midwives Association – Deirdre Daly, Lecturer in Midwifery at Trinity College Dublin;
  • European Student Nurses Association - Barry McConaghy, Final Year Student Nurse at Trinity College Dublin
  • President of the European Trade Union Confederation Youth Committee – Edward Mathews, Industrial Relations Officer.

In addition to this unique situation, Des Kavanagh of the Psychiatric Nurses Association of Ireland also presides over the European Psychiatric Nurses Association. 

The Presidents of these organisations, together with former Health Counsellor at the Permanent Representation of Ireland to the EU, John O’Toole, and a host of MEPS, Proinsias De Rossa, Eoin Ryan, Mairead McGuinness and Kathy Synott have contributed essays on the impact Ireland is making to EU Health Policy.

Annette Kennedy highlighted that nurses and midwives themselves must promote and increase their participation in the political process in order to gain influence in the EU health care policy decision-making process.  This is further elaborated by Kathy Synott in relation to needlestick injuries, who stated that in order to be effective in the lobbying process the INO had to focus more on the aspects of workplace safety and time lost in employment because of injury and the cost benefit of special protective needles, and less on the very real potential for human suffering from a split second contaminated needle prick.

John O’Toole, Former Permanent Representative, discusses the EU Health Budget as being quite limited; the annual budget for health is approximately €50 million.  As he states, “with approximately 480 million citizens in the twenty-seven EU countries, this is about €10.40 per citizen.  By contrast, the Common Agricultural Policy provides a subsidy of €18 for every cow in the EU.” 

Des Kavanagh portrays the significance of a limited budget on the national front and indicates the decreasing budget in the Irish Mental Health setting, from 13.5% of gross health expenditure to 6.8% in 2006.  Money has been diverted to other areas of health expenditure, away from the hard pressed mental health service, leading to hospitals and wards being closed, instead of the necessary and much needed community mental health service, specialist services for adolescents, the aged, and those requiring forensic services. 

Speaking earlier today, Annette Kennedy said:

“There are many issues related to Healthcare throughout all EU member states which need to be debated at EU level, for example mobility and migration of professionals, education, retention of healthcare workers, patient/client safety and public health, because of their impact on health policy.

There is a worldwide shortage of nurses and midwives and there is aggressive, unethical recruitment in countries such as the Philippines, India and Africa to the detriment of their health service.

It is estimated that in 2010 the United States will be short 1 million nurses while Canada will have a shortage of 200,000. New Zealand and Australia are also experiencing shortages with an increasing population of older nurses.   The EFN provides a strategic contribution to the development of a sufficient, effective, competent and motivated workforce of nurses and midwives in Europe.

In recent years, with the advancements in technology and an ageing population, the demand for health and social services has increased. Addressing the current health needs and developing the strategic direction for future needs with a systematic, integrated and coordinated approach across Europe, is a complex and challenging task.  The key to bridging the disparities between the strategic policy direction and actual practice is to formalise a process that ensures consistent nursing and midwifery input to decisions that directly affect the quality, effectiveness, and cost of healthcare.”




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