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Intensive Agenda Set For INMO’S 92nd Annual Delegate Conference In Kilkenny. 03.05.11

PRESS RELEASE,  Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Members to seek safe staffing levels, underpinned by legislation, as the health service, and the country, has never faced tougher challenges.

More than 350 nurses and midwives will gather in Kilkenny tomorrow, May 4th for the 3 day Annual Delegate Conference of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation.  Uppermost on the minds of our members in the current climate is their ability to deliver safe care to their patients.  1,776 beds have been closed, an increase of 712 since this time last year and 2,800 nursing/ midwifery posts have been lost since 2008 with another 1,200 to go before the end of February next year due to retirements.

The continued loss of frontline posts due to the recruitment embargo, the unwillingness of general management to accept decisions of nurse/midwife managers in relation to safe care and the increasing levels of dependency of all in-patient populations have prompted a call for the Organisation to seek the introduction, underpinned by legislation, of agreed nurse/midwife patient ratios to develop safe staffing guidelines for all care settings.

Speaking on the eve of the INMO’s 92nd Conference, Sheila Dickson, INMO President, said: “In recent years we have heard much about employment ceilings, however we have heard nothing about employment floors.  We must reach a situation where every area of the health service has a minimum staffing level, based on patient acuity, below which we cannot fall. The staffing level required must also be determined by the nurse/midwife in charge of the unit.  This will lead to safe care.  This is real reform.”

Delegates will also debate a motion on the continuing failure of An Bord Altranais to provide advice, support and guidance to individual nurses and midwives, to assist them in providing safe practice and safe care in all care settings.

On Wednesday afternoon the conference will be addressed by Mr Pat Harvey, Chair of the Health Service Implementation Body, under the Croke Park Agreement.  This will be followed by a debate, in private, in relation to the Croke Park Agreement and managing all of the changes that are happening, on a weekly basis, under that Agreement.

On Thursday morning, at approximately 10.15a.m., Sr Stanislaus Kennedy will give a presentation on “Sex trafficking and prostitution in Ireland: What can be done?”  This will be followed by a debate on Social Policy Motion No. 1 “Conference calls on the Government to address the nationwide problem in Ireland of human trafficking of women for use in the sex trade and implement a law which targets people who buy sex, and not those who sell it.”

Other motions up for debate include:

Employment of new graduates though a graduate placement programme  

  • The impact of HIQA reports on public services
  • Payment arrangements for undergraduate nurses/midwives
  • A&E Overcrowding
  • The establishment of  a social and mental health service specifically for the Out of Hours setting in Primary Care
  • Calls for the first budget of the new government to reflect true equality, based on ability to pay

The conference will be addressed on:

  • Thursday, at 12 noon by Mr Cathal Magee, CEO of the Health Service Executive followed by a presentation to him to mark International Midwives Day, May 5th; and,
  • Friday at 12 noon by the Minister for Health, Dr James Reilly, T.D., followed by an address by INMO President, Ms Sheila Dickson.

INMO General Secretary, Liam Doran concluded:
 “Our members are gathering in Kilkenny for the next three days at a time when the country is facing the worst economic crisis in its history.  The take home pay for the average nurse/midwife is now 25% less that it was two years ago, however, members continue to deliver change every day in all areas of the health service through expansion of roles, new work practices and re-organisation in the manner in which health services are delivered.
It is quite clear, from the conference agenda, that the key concern of nurses and midwives, at this time, is the critical issue of providing safe care to patients.  The call for statutory nurse patient ratios is evidence of the concern our members have for patients.
I have no doubt the conference will see very lively debate on many of the motions where we can expect members to outline their experiences of the harmful and debilitating impact of the staffing moratorium and other cuts in the frontline.”

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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