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INO Launches Major Initiatives to deal with Health Service Cutbacks. 19/03/09

PRESS RELEASE

Thursday, March 19th, 2009

  • Cutbacks Watch - a web based initiative for staff and the general public
  • Guidelines to INO members when dealing with cutbacks

The Irish Nurses Organisation has today launched a Cutbacks Watch initiative, similar to its current trolley watch, which is aimed at highlighting the effects of cutbacks on staff and patients and to encourage members of the public to get more involved in the health services in their area.  The cutbacks watch is a web based initiative which will allow members, patients, families and the general public to post comments online and record where they experience cutbacks, how the cuts affected patient care and, finally, what their views are on how to improve services in this difficult time.  It can be accessed via www.inmo.ie or directly on www.stophealthcuts.ie.  We want to highlight closed beds, staff shortages, specific areas where patients are suffering e.g. services cut and/or delays for treatment.

As well as leaving comments there is a facility to send photographs and video clips of, for example, a closed ward, ambulances held up outside ED’s etc.  We will share this campaign on other sites such as Facebook, Youtube, Twitter among others, where we hope to reach the maximum number of people.

Comments, photos, video clips will all be vetted before going live on our site and patient confidentiality will be upheld at all times.  In tandem with the new website we have produced a FREEPOST postcard for patients and their families who do not wish to go online but who do want to make a comment. Completed postcards will be delivered in bulk to the Minister for Health and Children. These will be available nationally over the next few weeks.  We also have a car sticker available which should prompt a response.

According to INO President, Sheila Dickson “This web based initiative was never more relevant in the light of the statement, by Professor Brendan Drumm, CEO Health Services Executive last week, when he openly acknowledged the immediate need to cut €70 million and his admission that this would negatively impact upon frontline services.”

Another initiative launched today by the INO is a booklet for members containing guidelines for them, whenever and wherever they are faced with health service cutbacks, with the three priorities being:

  • maintain safe standards of care
  • maintain the maximum number of jobs
  • maintain all negotiated pay rates including allowances, premium payments etc.

Speaking today, INO General Secretary, Liam Doran said:

“This is undoubtedly a struggle to protect and maintain any vestige of a public health service worthy of the name.  It is simply impossible to reduce health expenditure without there being a serious, damaging and long-term impact upon patients, clients and the staff who work in the health service.

Every citizen of Ireland is aware that we are in a most difficult economic situation and it is understood that the public finances must be corrected.  However the government must also understand that a society, if it is simply to survive, must have access, in a meaningful way, to a public health service in order to maintain the common good.

In that regard, in the context of developing a national recovery plan, the government must realise that it is simply not sensible, or logical, to continue to spend money on roads and other infrastructure, to bypass towns, when, the people living in that town, cannot access basic elements of a health service.  We are a society and a community, first of all, and if we have to delay spending, on infrastructural projects so that we maintain essential public services, then so be it.

The INO is absolutely committed to protecting the interests of our members, both in terms of delivering safe care and in the context of their terms and conditions of employment.

At this time one can only see difficulties ahead so we must be united, consistent and determined knowing that preserving a public health service is absolutely the right thing to do even in these historically difficult economic times”.

-end-

 

 

 
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Irish Nurses & Midwives Organisation (Cumann Altrai agus Ban Cabhrach na hEireann). The Whitworth Building, North Brunswick Street, Dublin 7. T:+353 1 664 0600 E:inmo@inmo.ie