The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO), which represents almost 40,000 nurses and midwives in Ireland, welcomes much of the comments by Minister for Health, Mr Simon Harris TD earlier today, to the Oireachtas Committee on the future of healthcare.
In particular, we welcome the Minister’s comments proposing:
- A slimmed down management bureaucracy within our health system;
- Organisational reform leading to integrated care across the country; and,
- A greater role for clinicians, working in the frontline, in the management, and delivery, of healthcare and health services generally.
The INMO has, together with ICTU, called, in both our written and oral submissions to this Oireachtas Committee, for a major, radical, reform of our health service delivering, within 10 years, the following:
- A single tiered public health service where access is determined solely by need and not ability to pay;
- Four Regional Health Authorities providing integrated care for the entire population;
- The removal of the layers of bureaucracy currently impeding clinical decision making and empowerment of professionals in the frontline; and,
- The funding of healthcare maintained at a minimum of 10% of GDP through a central funding arrangement.
The Minister’s comments, at today’s committee meeting, essentially reflect similar thinking, to the INMO. We call upon the Committee to propose this radical change when it issues its report in the coming weeks.
Speaking this lunchtime INMO General Secretary Liam Doran said:
“It is imperative that this Oireachtas Committee recognises, in its report, the inherent unfairness, perverse incentives and inequities which currently exist as a direct result of our two tiered health service. It is patently wrong that an ability to pay guarantees the individual quicker access to essential diagnostics and treatments, if required, than the person who is solely reliant upon the public health service.
Political consensus must emerge, as part of this process. This must remove health, from the battleground of elections and political ideology and place it firmly in the space of a world class public health service being a social good which strengthens our economy.
The change will take time, and there will be resistance, and political leadership will be required. However the rewards, for every citizen of Ireland regardless of income or need, will be significant.”