All-island co-operation in Health must move toward full integration – O’Reilly
Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson Louise O'Reilly TD is in Brussels today as part of a delegation of health professionals, educationalists, innovators and stakeholders from the Northwest Health Innovation Corridor (NWHIC).
Deputy O'Reilly is in Brussels as the European Council meet to discuss Brexit, and is meeting with officials to discuss how cross border health cooperation will be affected by Brexit.
Deputy O'Reilly said:
“NWHIC spans the arc of the Northwest and was launched in May 2013 by MEP Martina Anderson. It is an example of how well cross border cooperation can work and it is a positive step towards creating an island wide health care system. The result of the Brexit referendum would prevent this kind of collaboration and therefore this delegation is timely, as European heads of state meet to discuss Brexit.
“During the delegation, we are meeting with European Commission representatives from the Directorate for Health and Food Safety, the Directorate for Research and Innovation, and the Directorate for Communications Networks, Content & Technology. We are also meeting with representatives from Invest NI, the Department of Health in the six counties and the Permanent Representative of the 26 counties.
“Sinn Féin believes healthcare must be developed on an all-Ireland basis. Ideally, we should be moving from increased cooperation to ultimately full integration of services on the island, maximising the healthcare benefits for all and achieving greater economies of scale. In all our meetings today, we are pressing this and highlighting how Brexit could affect projects like NWHIC and other cross border projects.
“We are serious about ensuring the best interests of all citizens on the island are looked after. Health is paramount to this and we cannot take our eye off the ball on this. These meetings are part of our initial engagements on the issue and we are pushing to ensure that Minister Harris engages closely with Minister for health Michelle O'Neill in the north.
“It is now up to Minister Harris to clarify when engagement will begin to assess and identify how to minimise any adverse impacts on the provision of all-island health services and collaboration, and when measures to ensure no adverse impact or logistical challenges on accessibility issues will be identified.”