January 5, 2012

  Shared "health" could help Donegal
Text: Shared "health" could help Donegal A North-South Feasibility Study recommending cooperation in areas of Health on the island of Ireland could reap dividends for counties like Donegal.

The study was jointly com- missioned by the Irish Depart- ment of Health and Children and the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety in Northern Ireland and has put forward ambitious proposals to radically improve our health service.

Committee chairman Deputy Dominic Hannigan said: "The proposals, ii implemented, will substantially help two separate departments under fi- nancial pressures to make bet- ter use of their resources, but crucially will result in a better health service for the people.

"The study notes that the state of health of the popula- tion of the island of Ireland lags behind other western European countries, but of- fers real opportunities for both North and South to take a coordinated approach to improve the health and social care services available.

He particularly welcomed the recommendation of an AlHsJand Action Plan on Sui- cide Prevention and plans to include mental health promo- tion.

This is an area of concern that must be addressed im- mediately – time is not on our side.

The report also proposes closer cooperation amongst the two departments and rele- vant agencies on alert systems for children at risk, fostering care services for children, organ donations, and improv- ing access to radiotherapy care for populations in the North West," "The proposed changes should be seen as progres- sive measures which if im- plemented will substantially improve our services across the island. At a time when health resources are under pressure, cooperation can make radical improvements.

ft is crucial that Ministers James Reilly and Edwin Foots take this study forward to bring real improvements tothe lives and wellbeing ofpeople on both sides of theborder." Donegal Deputy Joe McHughis a member of the commit-tee.