The bi-annual board meeting of the FOHNEU was held on 19-21 September and discussed the vital role OH nurses have to play in the health of the European Union, by Charles McGraham
The Federation of Occupational Health Nurses within the European Union (FOHNEU) held its bi-annual board meeting in London on 19-21 September 2002. It was hosted by the RCN OHN European Working Group and received generous sponsorship from the Mid Downs OHN Group.
At the HSE-sponsored official reception, Sandra Caldwell, head of the Health Division, congratulated FOHNEU on its growing role of linking and representing the group of health and safety practitioners with the closest daily contact with Europe's working population.
A proactive challenge
After explaining the HSE/Health Division's approach to combating and reducing incidents of occupational ill-health, Caldwell challenged delegates to be proactive both in their approach to solutions to control emerging occupational ill-health issues, and in dealing with historical, but still present, problems.
She then introduced Owen Tudor who represented the Health and Safety Commission. Owen, having explained his position in representing employees on the HSC, acknowledged the vital role and contribution of OH nurses in the care of workers.
Also present were Roswyn Hakesley-Brown, president of the RCN; Sharon Horan, chair of the RCN Society of Occupational Nurses; Bernie Jackson, chair of the RCN OH Managers Group; and David Snashall, HSE's chief medical adviser.
The following evening, HSC chairman Bill Callaghan joined the delegates. Colleagues representing other EU member states were impressed that the head of the health division, and two people from the HSC, in particular the chairman, were willing to take time to demonstrate their interest and appreciation of the contribution that OHNs make to the health of Europe's workforce.
RCN president Roswyn Hakesley-Brown gave a short speech saying that it was clear to her that a good OH service is crucial to both the health as well as the wealth of nations.
"A healthy workforce equals a healthy economy, which equals the facility for a country's reinvestment in healthier and other social infrastructures. Doing the right thing in the right way at the right time is something that OH nurses have cause to celebrate in their multifaceted roles