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Assurances sought over cross-border care in wake of ‘Brexit’

01 Jul 2016

Members of Co-Operating for Cancer Care NorthWest (CCC(NW)) have sought assurances from Health Minister Simon Harris that ‘Brexit’ will have no impact on patients receiving treatment at a new Radiotherapy Unit in Derry.

They have also written to Northern Ireland’s Health Minister, Michelle O’Neill (pictured), requesting a clear statement as soon as possible that patients attending the Altnagelvin unit from late autumn will not be affected.

Construction of the unit, which is funded by both governments and is not an EU project, is almost complete. Recruitment of staff is ongoing and cross-border meetings to develop clinical pathways and governance procedures continue.

Spokeswoman for CCC(NW), Noelle Duddy, said they remained optimistic that Brexit would not stop patients living in Donegal from accessing radiotherapy in Altnagelvin when it opened its doors.

“We have written to both Minister of Health, Michelle O’Neill, MLA and Minister of Health, Simon Harris, TD requesting that they issue a clear statement as soon as possible to reassure people living on both sides of the border in the North West region of this island that Brexit will have no impact on cancer patients receiving radiotherapy treatments… and that work to complete this project is continuing and unaffected,” she said.

In a statement, CCC(NW) said it met with Donegal-based Oireachtas members over the weekend who agreed that developing and enhancing health services in the North West must include consideration of further cross-border co-operation and partnerships.

They said they were told by Donegal TD and Minister of State Joe McHugh that it was “business as usual” and that the Good Friday Agreement continued to be operational.

Niamh Mullen

Click here to view the full article which appeared in Irish Medical Times