Labour Youth Honours the Work of the INMO
Posted on July 13, 2019 at 03:00 PM
The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) are on the front line of trying to make our health services work in impossible circumstances. This weekend Labour Youth awarded the INMO the Jim Kemmy Thirst for Justice Award in recognition of their determination to create a truly fair and universal healthcare system.
The General Secretary of the INMO, Phil Ní Sheaghdha, was welcomed to Galway by Labour Youth to receive the Award on behalf of the INMO, which was presented by the leader of the Labour Party, Brendan Howlin TD.
Speaking at the event, Brendan said:
"Conservatives want to profit from those parts of the health economy that are in private control. If we want to push private profit out of mainstream health services, then we have to take on the vested economic interests that support the building of private clinics in each of our public hospitals.
"It is Labour’s mission to convince the public that stronger democratic control of our hospitals is the best way for us to improve outcomes and to improve equality of outcome.
"The failure of the current system is all too obvious. A near-record 78 patients were on trolleys in University Hospital Limerick in recent days. In University Hospital Galway, there were 3,465 patients on trolleys or chairs between January and the end of June this year. The National Treatment Purchase Fund shows that there are more than 560,000 people waiting for a first public hospital outpatient consultation.
"Of course, those with the means to do so can avail of a private appointment to avoid those long waiting times. That simple fact starkly illustrates the inequality of our health system, and also the economic incentives that exist for those who want to maintain and grow the provision of private medicine. It also underlines the difficulty we face in implementing the SláinteCare Report, when those who are better off are less personally invested in the task of fundamentally changing the inequality in our health system. That is where Labour must build public support for change.
"The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation are on the front line of trying to make our health services work in impossible circumstances. As are health support staff, for whom SIPTU is currently seeking justice in relation to the job evaluation scheme. It is our duty, in the Labour Party, to work closely with the trade unions to seek the transformational change that is needed – and the change of economic policy that is needed.
"This indicates the problem for Labour in entering into coalition government with either of the right-wing parties. We could easily have a Labour Minister for Health after the next general election, but unless we have a left-led government, we are not going to see enough changes to economic policy to deliver a universal, fair health system.
"I welcome Labour Youth’s decision to give this year’s Thirst for Justice Award to the INMO. This is not just recognition of their recent strike action on behalf of their members, but it is recognition of their determination to see the creation of a truly fair and universal healthcare system in this country, which is an ambition fully shared by me and fully shared by the Labour Party."
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