Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2006-04-05-Speech-3-315"

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"Mr President, Commissioner, ‘Working together for health’ is a lovely motto for World Health Day, as long as it is also taken seriously by all those making speeches, producing press releases or conveying messages on the occasion of 7 April. In this respect, I should like to endorse the previous speaker’s words. This is all the more applicable when it comes to health workers, to whom World Health Day 2007 is devoted. In my view, therefore, Parliament also needs to address the problem that ‘Working together for health’ and the improvement of working conditions for health workers in the EU are not really being taken seriously. The reverse is true. I should like to make just four remarks, therefore. The first is that the debate on the Working Time Directive and on health-care reforms has worsened, and is continuing to worsen, the working conditions for health workers. I should like to remind the House of the dispute on the recognition of on-call duty as working time that is still ongoing, and of the strike by German hospital staff that has been going on for weeks and is paralysing many hospitals in Germany and thus also seriously impairing care for the people. The access of millions of people to health services is being restricted or complicated, and is by no means being improved or safeguarded. My second remark is that, despite the enlargement of the EU and the growing health problems, the health and consumer protection appropriations in the budget adopted by the European Council in December 2005 have been cut in comparison with the present period. My third remark is that, even though the Spring Summit of the Heads of State or Government on the Lisbon Strategy is being held just a few days before the annual World Health Day, health issues play only a secondary role there. What is at issue is greater competitiveness, greater strain and stress for the individual; which, of course, are known to be detrimental to the health of the majority of the population. I should like to take the liberty of making a fourth remark at this juncture. The day before yesterday, the Commission opened the public consultation on the creation of a European defence equipment market. This makes clear the real political importance of today’s debate on World Health Day. Arms are a direct route to the destruction of health. In this context, however, I should also like to draw attention to the growing importance of military aspects in development policy, whose principal purpose is actually supposed to be the improvement of public health in poor countries. From my point of view, there is enough cause – and also material – here for a discussion aiming at improving the health of people living in the EU and boosting the EU’s contribution to improving global health. In this connection, I should also like to make an explicit plea for a study of the alternative world health report which pleads, in particular, for the extension, qualitative improvement and democratisation of the public-health field. It describes health workers as the lifeblood of health care. The matter of primary importance is not cost, capital or dubious productivity, therefore, but the qualified, responsible commitment of health workers, because their personalities, their professional and social competence, and also their opinions and suggestions should count. For this reason, I propose a public consultation of health workers, asking them the following questions. In your opinion, what is the most common cause of illness, or particularly detrimental to public health? What is the thing that most hinders you from making maximum use of your know-how for the benefit of public health? In your opinion, what needs to be changed about the political framework to enable you to work better and improve public health? From your perspective, what should the EU do to boost its contribution to global health, to overcoming HIV/AIDS and epidemics, and to combating the effects on health of hunger, shortages of drinking water and environmental degradation?"@en1
"Global Health Watch 2005–2006"1

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