Seek Safe and Reliable Medical Care and Nursing Care

850 Attend 2004 RENGO Central Rally

21 May 2004
RENGO held its 2004 "Safe and Reliable Medical Care and Nursing Care" RENGO Central Rally at Kudan Kaikan hall in Tokyo on May 14 with 850 working people from the health/elderly care scene in attendance.

A keynote speech was delivered by Go Miyatake, a Professor in the Saitama Prefectural University Health and Welfare School and discussions were held in three panel meetings on medialcare, nursing care, and co-medical (medical workers other than doctors: paramedical staff). Participants exchanged opinions and discussed the significance of ratifying ILO Convention 149 which is said to improve working conditions for medicalpersonnel, revision of the nursing care insurance system, issues regarding the working conditions for nursing care workers, management of co-medical staff working hours, the influence of the revised worker dispatch law, and so on. They reassured themselves that they would intensify their activities for reform in order to realize "safe and reliable medical care and nursing care."

Photo: RENGO General Secretary Kusano presented a speech on behalf of the organizers. (Kudan Kaikan Hall, Tokyo, May 14) Photo: RENGO General Secretary Kusano presented a speech on behalf of the organizers. (Kudan Kaikan Hall, Tokyo, May 14)
General Secretary Kusano touched upon one of the major issues of medical care/nursing care; that is, requests for the opening of the labor market which are intensifying from Asia as well as from the government's Council for Regulatory Reform and other economic circles. Kusano said, "RENGO is currently considering policies for it and we think that the matter of opening markets to foreigners is something that should be treated very gingerly."

On the matter of medical care system reform, Kusano indicated several problems in the new system for the elderly which are currently being discussed in a government council, "objections have been erupting in the council. We cannot foresee the future of these discussions. The government's basic principle, which was decided by the cabinet in March 2003 should be reviewed."

Kusano also touched on the revision of the system for nursing care insurance saying "we will again advocate the socialization of nursing care, in other words we will place renewed emphasis on in-home care, which is the goal and purpose of the system, develop discussions, and propose policies to the Central Executive Committee which is scheduled for May 20."

Listening to the keynote lecture by Professor Miyatake, attendees shared opinions on current issues regarding medical/nursing care and then entered into debates at three panel meetings.

At the first session, participants reaffirmed the need for activities to ratify Convention 149, which aims for the "improvement of working conditions for nursing personnel" and is based on Convention 149, the only ILO Convention limiting the types of jobs classified as 'nursing personnel.' At the second panel meeting, there was a meaningful exchange of opinions; participants presented opinions and demands from both sides offering services and using services for the revision of the nursing care insurance system which is scheduled for 2005. In the third panel, participants presented reports that focused on managing working hours over the conditions on the health service scene since the revision of the worker dispatch law. The participants exchanged opinions in order to improve the situation.

After the rally, participants moved to Yurakucho, Tokyo, where they talked about the harsh real conditions at medical/elderly care worksites as they handed out small pocket-sized packs of tissues with advertisements on them to passersby. They also called for people to "realize better health services/elderly care through mutual cooperation together."