Thursday, 4th February 2016
As you are aware the General Election will take place on Friday, 26th February 2016.
In that regard, as part of the democratic process, members can expect to have canvassers, on behalf of candidates (and perhaps candidates themselves), knocking your door seeking your vote.
In this context, and recognising the need to ensure that health issues, and particularly nursing/midwifery issues, are on the agenda, of those seeking election, the Executive Council is asking all members, when engaging with these canvassers/ candidates, to make the following points and ask the following questions:
1. Nursing/Midwifery Staffing Levels:
Our health service is chronically short of nurses and midwives, having lost over 5,000 posts in the past six years. The outgoing government has accepted this, as a fact, and there are Task Force reports which recognise substantial shortages in respect of both professions.
(a) Therefore will you, if elected, support the full implementation of these reports and ensure safe staffing for patients in the health service and mothers and babies in our maternity services?
(b) Also can you explain how you will attract nurses and midwives to our services, in the context of a world-wide shortage and Ireland having exported up to 9,000 nurses/midwives over the past five years?
2. Emergency Department Overcrowding/Bed Capacity/Community Services:
The INMO has being counting Trolley Watch (confirming the number of admitted patients on trolleys), for over ten years, and the last two years have seen record levels of ED overcrowding due to reduced bed capacity and curtailment of community services.
(a) What will you do to immediately address the shortage of beds and nursing staff to properly care for patients requiring admission to hospital?
(b) What plans do you have to address the severe shortage of nurses working in the community and primary care services generally?
3. Health Service Funding:
The Irish health service is clearly not big enough to cope with the current population and resulting demand. We lag behind most developed nations in terms of our ability to provide primary health care and our hospitals are overcrowded. It will take significant investment to make our health service fit for purpose.
(a) Will you, if elected, support a multi annual allocation, of a minimum of 10% of GDP, for the provision of public health services for the lifetime of the next government?
For the purposes of generating debate, about health and nursing and midwifery issues as part of the election process, members are invited to post, any responses they receive, on the INMO Facebook page or via short statements on our General Election section of our website.
The Executive Council is encouraging all members to ask these questions, of those seeking your vote, to ensure they are very well aware of the serious problems continuing to face our health service, and requiring them to indicate what plans they have to address these problems.
On behalf of INMO Executive Council