Press Release

Cross border co-operation benefits health – Poots and Reilly

Minister for Health James Reilly and Northern Ireland’s Health Minister Edwin Poots have said there are many health benefits to be gained by working together.

The Ministers were today visiting a number of joint sponsored, cross border projects to see first-hand how sharing health and care services across the two jurisdictions is benefiting people in the areas.

The Ministers also visited the new South West Acute Hospital in Enniskillen and the Louth County Hospital in Dundalk.

At the new South West Acute Hospital in Enniskillen the Ministers were shown a presentation on the new hospital and the benefits of cross border vascular services. They were also given an update on the new radiotherapy centre at Altnagelvin Hospital and had discussions with diabetes patients benefitting from participation in a CAWT (co-operation and working together) diabetes programme.

Speaking at Enniskillen Edwin Poots said: “I am impressed with the cross border co-operation on many health projects. The initiatives we have seen and heard about this morning are excellent examples of good practice and show the importance of collaboration.

“For example, the cross-border vascular service allows an innovative outpatient procedure to be carried out for patients who had previously waited in excess of two years for the procedure prior to this service commencing.”

Minister Reilly said: “I am very pleased to be able to see at first hand these important projects which CAWT is managing. It is particularly enlightening to meet with the professionals involved in the projects and the users of the projects”.

The Ministers were told that the Radiotherapy unit at Altnagelvin hospital is on track for completion in 2016. Both Ministers agreed: “This is great news and, when completed, this unit will be of immeasurable benefit to cancer patients both north and south of the border.”

They continued: “Our strong partnership approach is key to delivering effective, innovative and streamlined services. Sharing information and resources on both sides of the border to maintain a better standard of care can only be of benefit to the people in both parts of this island. We are certain that working together will assist to improve health outcomes in the future.”

Minister Reilly reflected on the importance of CAWT’s integral role, now and in the last 20 years, to cross border work in the health and social care sphere. He also noted how he and Minister Poots strongly believe in the benefits that can accrue to the citizens of both jurisdictions from mutually beneficial north south co-operation.

The two Ministers look forward to continuing their joint focus on opportunities to cooperate at the next North South Ministerial Council Health meeting in July 2013.

Elaine Way CBE, Chief Executive of the Western Health and Social Care Trust, said: “This is truly a momentous occasion and I am honoured to welcome both Health Ministers to the Western Trust’s South West Acute Hospital. The South West Acute Hospital provides the ideal setting for greater cross border working now and well into the future. Today’s visit provides the perfect opportunity to showcase some of the tremendous health and social care practice which takes place in the Western Trust area.”

Following the visit both Ministers headed to another CAWT sponsored project at the Men’s Shed in Dundalk to hear about social inclusion and alcohol projects before going on to the Louth County Hospital to be updated on achievements to date on new sexual health / genito urinary medicine (GUM) clinics in border areas.

Note to Editors:

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