Front, l-r: Aisling Hurley, CEO Breast Cancer Ireland; Phil Ni Sheaghdha, INMO General Secretary Designate; Martina Harkin-Kelly, INMO President; Clodagh Ruddy, Client Services Manager, Cornmarket; Roisin Kelly, Head of Risk Operations, Irish Life. Background, INMO Executive Council. (Picture: Lisa Cawley)

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO), is launching the second Free Breast Health Assessment initiative, under the banner of ‘Pink Power’, for members of its Income Protection Scheme. For males, the ‘Blue Power’ scheme, a Prostate assessment, will also be available.

When ‘Pink Power’ was initially launched, in 2012, it was the first of its kind within the Irish trade union movement, in the fight against cancer. It was particularly pertinent, for the INMO, which has a mostly female membership.

In 2012 we hoped that, through this unique initiative, we could promote regular examination and help save lives. Five years later, the ‘Pink Power’ initiative has had a profound impact on the people who accessed the Free Breast Health Assessment.

Since 2012 over:

  • 3,100 INMO members have availed of screening;
  • 211 ultrasounds and 282 mammograms were performed; and
  • 3 INMO members were diagnosed with breast cancer.

Thankfully, their outlook was, and is, positive due to early intervention because of the scheme. This confirms the potency of this initiative which has the real potential to save lives.

‘Pink Power’ originally came about following a review of the INMO’s Income Protection Scheme. It became apparent, to the INMO and Cornmarket, that there was a high level of claims for breast cancer amongst nurses and midwives. In 2011, 26% of all INMO claims were for Cancer, with Breast Cancer accounting for more than half. (Source – Irish Life)

‘Pink Power’ will also have a lasting impact, on the future health of people who accessed the service, as 89% of those who used the service said it increased their awareness of how to self-check and what symptoms to look out for.

Cornmarket worked together, with Irish Life, to design this latest health programme and Irish Life proudly sponsors this initiative. It will be available in 30 locations nationwide (15 hospitals and 15 GP clinics).

The assessment will involve a clinical breast examination by a physician and an education session on breast health awareness taking approximately fifteen minutes. If a member requires further tests, they will get a rapid referral to the participating private hospital, Beaumont Private Clinic for Pink Power or Bon Secours Private Hospital, Dublin, for Blue Power.

INMO President, Martina Harkin-Kelly said: “The INMO is delighted to announce the availability of the FREE Pink and Blue Power Health assessment programme, in association with Cornmarket, for our members in our Income Protection Scheme. The first campaign was a great success – three early cancer diagnoses with some 3,000 availing of the programme. After five years the INMO has decided that, as part of our growing range of services, to initiate this second campaign. I ask each member, in our Income Protection Scheme, to avail of the service. It really can make a difference”.

Ivan Ahern, Director of Cornmarket, speaking about their commitment to the programme:

“INMO really did lead the way in the fight against cancer. Thanks to the success of the last INMO programme, in 2012, other groups were keen to come on board. Since then, 17 Cornmarket customers have been diagnosed with cancer through this service so far. We are both proud and delighted to be able to offer INMO members this potentially life-saving service again, in 2018, as part of their Income Protection policy”.

Roisin Kelly, Head of Risk Operations, Irish Life: “Over €8 million has been paid to INMO members and their families for cancer related illnesses to date by Irish Life. This innovative programme was very successful the last time we brought it to INMO members. We are delighted to do it again so even more can avail of a programme they would not normally have access to.”

Speaking at the launch, INMO General Secretary Designate, Phil Ni Sheaghdha said:

“We are delighted to be in a position to again offer members of our Income Protection Scheme a free Breast Health Assessment. Everyone knows someone who has been touched by this disease. We are proud to be the first trade union in the country to have offered our members this free service. We are particularly happy to be giving some care back to the carers, our members, who are working on the frontline, with all the associated stresses, at this difficult time for our health service.”

The new scheme will commence in January and will be available, on a phased basis, nationwide during 2018.