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HOME  > Past issues  > 2008 March 5 - 11  > Jichiroren in cross-country campaign to discuss defense of local health care services
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2008 March 5 - 11 [LABOR]

Jichiroren in cross-country campaign to discuss defense of local health care services

March 5, 2008
The Japan Federation of Prefectural and Municipal Workers' Union (Jichiroren), in a cross-country campaign, is discussing ways to improve local medical services with municipal heads and public hospital directors.

The campaign was launched as part of the labor Spring Struggle calling for a united effort to defend the quality of residents’ lives and their local communities.”

In February, Jichiroren activists visited all four prefectures in the Shikoku region as well as Shizuoka and Hokkaido prefectures. They had talks with officials of municipalities and public hospitals that are seriously affected by a shortage of doctors and cutbacks in healthcare budget.

In Nemuro City, Hokkaido, Mayor Hasegawa Shunsuke pointed out, “Doctors’ heavy workloads need to be reduced. The root cause of the problem is the government policy of restraining medical expenses.” He expressed hope for more government funding for increasing the number of doctors.

“The municipal hospital is the key medical center in the vast area of our town. It is the key municipal institution to provide welfare and protect residents’ lives and health,” said Bekkai Town Mayor Mizunuma Takeshi. “If we are to prevent the local community from collapsing, we need to maintain a decent health care system with a sufficient number of doctors,” he said.

Some complained about the government’s “guidelines for public hospital reform,” which promote the mergers and shutdowns of public hospitals.

A city-run hospital director in Shizuoka Prefecture said that efforts to improve cost-effectiveness alone cannot help hospitals fulfill their functions responsibly.

In Oshu City in Iwate Prefecture on February 24, about 170 people, including the city assembly chair, took part in a meeting to discuss health care services.

A mother of a disabled child called on the local municipality to improve the public health care system so that it will give priority to helping the disadvantaged.
- Akahata, March 5, 2008
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