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Government has no contingency for treatment abroad post-Brexit – Ó Caoláin

14 March, 2017 - by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD

Sinn Féin TD and spokesperson for Disabilities Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has said that, far from being prepared for Brexit, the Government has no contingency in place to secure services and plan for the future.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

“Today, Health Minister Simon Harris claimed that the Government was ready for Brexit. This spin flies in the face of evidence presented by Department officials to the Health Committee last week.

“Officials advised that, last year, 1,700 treatments were funded under the cross-border healthcare directive, of which 700 were treated in the north. The Department officials did not know how many of the remaining were treated in Britain. In addition, 613 patients accessed the Treatment Abroad Scheme of which 574 went to either the north or Britain.

“In the face of a hard Brexit, it is unlikely that patients can continue to access treatments in the North or Britain through these schemes.

“Officials were unable to detail how services such as radio therapy services for the North West based at Altnagelvin would be affected. That is just not good enough.

“It is clear that the Department has no contingency in place to secure services and no plan for Brexit.

“Far from being ready for Brexit, the Health Minister and the Government are stumbling from one crisis to the next. We need to end the chaos in the health services and plan for the future.” 

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