Monday, May 02, 2011

International Council of Nurses on Publicly Funded Accessible Health Services

The International Council of Nurses Position Statement on
Publicly Funded Accessible Health Services

The International Council of Nurses and its member national nurses' associations advocate for the development of national health care systems that provide a range of essential health services accessible to all the population, as determined within the country in both preventive and curative care.

Where such services are not publicly funded, ICN believes that governments have a responsibility to ensure accessible health services to vulnerable groups.

Essential and accessible health services should be determined by each country's health needs. They should balance efficiency and cost-effectiveness with quality, striving to achieve this balance within the resources available.

ICN supports efforts by national nurses associations to influence health and public policy that is based on the health priorities for the nation, equity, accessibility of essential services, efficiency (including productivity), cost-effectiveness, and quality care.

ICN promotes educational preparation in management and leadership development that prepares nurses for a broad range of roles and responsibilities. ICN supports efforts by national nurses associations to ensure that government policy for publicly funded health services does not downgrade the level of nursing education required by the complex demands of these services.
ICN and its member associations support and promote the principles of primary health care as a means of helping promote availability of and accessibility to essential health services at a cost that communities and nations can afford.

To ensure accessible, cost-effective and quality services, appropriate regulatory principles, standards and mechanisms need to be established and be applied equally to both private and public health services.

Nursing education systems should ensure curricula are regularly updated to meet the needs of the changing environment, that they are appropriately implemented, and that ongoing education needs are addressed.

A healthy nation is a vital national resource. A prime goal of each nation must be to achieve the best health status possible for the population within the resources available.

ICN and member associations need to maintain effective networks with relevant stakeholders to help ensure resource allocation and availability of services is based on needs and priorities, promotes primary health care, and considers quality considerations as well as costs.

This goal is made more difficult because of:

·         increased demand for health services (due to factors such as the changing nature and amount of health problems, aging populations and rising public expectations);
·         rising health care costs often associated with insufficient resources and with an increased emphasis on costly applications of advanced technology;
·         inadequate use of available resources because of inefficiencies in the planning and priority setting, utilization and management of health care systems.

Health system reform in many countries is trying to address these problems. This has implications for both private and public components of health systems.

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