Sinn Féin press for further "Out of Hours" progress along the border
Donegal Sinn Féin County Councillor Tony Mc Daid has welcomed the joint announcement by the Departments of Health north and south that pilot schemes enabling communities in Inishowen to access "Out of Hours" medical services in Derry and those in areas of Armagh to do likewise in Castleblaney are now to proceed after a long delay, describing it as a first step in the establishment the seamless Primary Care provision right along the border.
Councillor Mc Daid was part of a Sinn Fein delegation which met Mr Fergal Goodman, Principal Primary Care Officer, Department of Health and Children (Twenty-Six Counties) and Ms Christine Jendoubi, Director of Primary Care, Department of Health (Six Counties) at the Hillgrove Hotel in Monaghan on Friday 12th May to push for the speedy progress in bringing about the situation whereby everyone along the border can access their nearest "out of Hours" Service, regardless of which jurisdiction they live in.
Cllr Mc Daid said,
Sinn Féin have been lobbying on this issue for some considerable time and as part of a delegation which included our party all-Ireland spokesperson Barry Mc Elduff MLA and our parties Health spokespersons Caoimhghin O Caolain TD and John O Dowd MLA, we pressed Fergal Goodman and Christine Jendoubi for their respective Health Departments to do more in terms of a joint approach to break down the remaining barriers which are standing in the way of communities right along the border being able to access their closest "Out of Hours" medical service. At least 65,000 people living close to the border actually live closer to GP Out of Hours Services provided 'in the other jurisdiction.'
At the meeting we pushed strongly for the extension of the pilot scheme to include the Strabane/East Donegal area and we will be keeping the pressure up. Sinn Féin is heartened by the long awaited announcement of the pilot schemes but we will now be following up Friday's meeting with direct lobbying of the two Health Ministers, Mary Harney and Paul Goggins. ENDS