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Sinn Féin urge rapid implementation of all-Ireland Healthcare Provision

7 February, 2007

Sinn Fein Health spokesperson and Assembly candidate John O'Dowd has called on the Irish and British Governments to move rapidly ahead with the implementation of findings of the NSMC report into Cross Border Mobility in healthcare and provision first published in 2002.

Mr O Dowd said:

"When the North South Ministerial Council was meeting it called for officials from both jurisdiction to bring forward proposals on how to remove obstacles to cross border healthcare and provision.

"The Council also decided that recommendations in the areas of Education and Working, Health and Pensions, should be considered by relevant Government Departments who would bring forward detailed proposals, including costs.

"In the area of Health it was specifically stated that 'the proposals recommended should be taken forward by a joint working group on Health, comprising officials from relevant Departments North and South, in consultation, where appropriate, with other bodies/organisations in this field'.

"The recommendations of the report if fully implemented have far reaching positive outcomes for both health service workers and more importantly people requiring health care."

Proposals of the report such as:

21. Consideration should be given to undertaking a feasibility study of permitting frontier workers to access health services at their nearest hospital, irrespective of the jurisdiction in which it is located.

35.All professional and regulatory bodies, North and South, should be encouraged and supported to work towards mutual recognition of qualifications.

36. Recognition of qualifications in the medical profession should be instigated involving the relevant medical organisations North and South. Practical issues associated with expanding the exchange of trainees in medicine to include wider specialities could also be considered.

Concluding Mr O'Dowd said

"Healthcare should not be restricted by land borders the recommendations of this report should have long since become reality with the winners being the health service on both sides of the border and its users.

"It will be Sinn Féin's intention to continue to lobby for this report to become reality." ENDS

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