A new research report from the Centre for Cross Border Studies concludes that there are potential benefits to be gained from increased North-South cooperation in a number of key acute healthcare services: cystic fibrosis, Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) surgery, paediatric cardiac surgery, orthopaedic surgery and acute mental health services.
The report, Unlocking the Potential of Cross-Border Hospital Planning on the Island of Ireland, by Shane McQuillan and Vanya Sargent of the consultancy firm Horwath Bastow Charleton, says that while there are significant barriers to the development of cross-border acute health care, these can be ‘worked around’ where it makes sense for improved patient services to do so.
The report also notes that the new Erne Hospital in Enniskillen ‘presents a significant opportunity for fresh thinking in respect of service provision on a cross-border basis. Particular opportunities may arise in areas such as day-case surgical procedures in orthopaedics, serving patients not just in Fermanagh and Tyrone but also in the surrounding cross-border areas.’
The Compton Review into health and social care in Northern Ireland, published earlier this week, suggested a number of possible cross-border initiatives, including specialist paediatric services to be provided to Northern patients by Southern hospitals, and patients from the South, particularly along the border, being treated for some cancers in Northern hospitals.
The Northern Ireland Health Minister, Mr Edwin Poots MLA, said the Compton Review’s recommendation that Daisy Hill Hospital in Newry should be downgraded could be offset by the Irish Government helping to finance Daisy Hill so that it could ‘extend its services’ to cover the population on both sides of the border. He said he was having ‘conversations’ with the Irish health authorities about this.
The report was launched by Mr Tom Daly, Director General of the cross-border health authorities network Cooperation and Working Together (CAWT), on Thursday 15th December 2011 at 12.30 pm in the Europa Hotel in Belfast.
For further information contact:
Ruth Taillon, Deputy Director (Research), Centre for Cross Border Studies