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Need for greater progress on provision of Healthcare across border

31 August, 2007

Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson, Carál Ní Chuilín has said that the development of an all-Ireland approach to the delivery of healthcare will deliver economies of scale and increase capacity and equality of access.

Ms Ní Chuilín said:

"An all-Ireland approach to the delivery of health can deliver economies of scale, increase capacity, support the development of regional centres, increase access to services and deepen the available pool of expertise.

"The border has a negative impact on people's lives, particularly in relation to access to healthcare provision. Across a range of areas an all-Ireland approach is required.

"For example there is agreement among Health practitioners and service providers that the practical solution to easing the hardship faced by cancer patients is through better regional services. Services that could only be sustained within an all-Ireland framework.

"There are other important areas such as the expansion of the cross border out of hours GP initiatives and an all-Ireland approach to suicide and mental health.

"Early progress towards all-Ireland planning in the provision of the full spectrum of health services can and will improve the lives of thousands of people, particularly in border communities and the Northwest.

"We need to work beyond the artificial border in order to deliver essential services and particularly to provide equal access. The provision of healthcare should not be confined by partition. It should be governed by effectiveness and accessibility.

"Many people, including many within the health services and those who need services - understand our analysis that Ireland is too small a country to support two separate health service systems; that there is clearly a need to harmonise provision and delivery of health services across the whole of Ireland." ENDS

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