Welcoming the launch of the new £7million Connected Health Innovation Centre (CHIC) at Jordanstown, Health Committee Member, Maeve McLaughlin, Sinn Fein MLA (Foyle) has called on the DETI and Health Ministers to show the same level of commitment to the already existing facilities available in Derry and the North West.
Maeve McLaughlin said:
“A North West Connected Health Innovation Corridor (NWHIC) seminar held in Derry in May of this year attracted great interest from a broad spectrum of contributors and attendees. Among those in attendance were Professor Tony Bjourson, Director of the Biomedical Sciences Research Institute of University of Ulster, Frank Cunninham, International Policy Officer at the EU Directorate on Communications, Content and Technologies as well as Andrew McCormack, Permanent Secretary at the Department of Health. Special guest was Senator Therese Murray, President of the Masssachusetts State Senate.
“All of these eminent speakers were agreed that Derry and the North West was perfectly located and had available all of the facilities required for the development of a NWHIC.
“Derry’s One Plan also recognised health innovation as a means of addressing inequalities and incorporated the development of the sector into the Plan under the catalyst programmes for 'Growing the Digital Economy and Health for All'.
“Given the demonstrated commitment by Health Minister, Edwin Poots to cooperation on health matters with his Dublin counterpart, Minister James Reilly I would urge them both to recognise the opportunities available to this sector in the North West.
Already the Northwest has assembled many of the building blocks required to lead the way in this sector, for example C-TRIC, the ISRC, the Biomedical Science Research Institute, Sligo Institute of Technology, Letterkenny Institute of Technology, CoLab, CAWT, Donegal Clinical and Research Academy, Psychology Research Institute, Nursing Research Institute, Bamford Centre for Mental Health and Well-being, regional hospitals located in Derry, Letterkenny and Sligo, with a new radiotherapy unit imminent in Derry, Kelvin telecommunications link which provides the fastest and most reliable high capacity link between Europe and the US, not to mention a thriving private sector stretching from Sligo to Coleraine. All of this makes us extremely well-placed to take advantage of the trend towards increased technology adoption within healthcare.
“I urge the Health Ministers, North and South to support the potential of these resources to develop a North West Connected Health Corridor that would deliver undoubted health and economic benefits to the whole island."