Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe, TD met recently with staff from the Co-operation and Working Together (CAWT) Development Centre as part of a visit a number of PEACE and INTERREG funded projects in the North West, co-ordinated by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB).
Minister Donohoe was briefed on cross border health developments by Tom Daly, CAWT’s Director General and Bernie McCrory, CAWT’s Chief Officer.
Key points of discussions included:
• The long established nature of the CAWT Partnership which has been in operation for 24 years and comprises the Southern and Western Health and Social Care Trusts, the Health and Social Care Board and the Public Health Agency in Northern Ireland and the border counties of the Health Service Executive (HSE) in the Republic of Ireland.
• CAWT’s track record in delivering health and social care initiatives on a cross-border basis, predominantly with funding support from the EU’s INTERREG programme.
• Most recently, the CAWT Partnership delivery of services for 53,000 patients and clients worth €30 million investment value in the border region via the EU INTERREG IVA programme.
• The well-established CAWT network of health service people, North and South, who know each other, who work together and can deliver initiatives that bring mutual benefit to the population of both jurisdictions.
• The benefits provided from opportunities presented by the health services joining up their cross border catchment areas and the financial investments from the INTERREG programme which include: economies of scale, improved access for patients, reductions in health inequalities, partnerships with the community and voluntary sector, sustained service delivery and retention of scarce professional skills.
• Cross border health and social care projects submitted by the CAWT Partnership for consideration under the health theme of the new INTERREG VA programme.
Strategic developments were also discussed including the opening last month of the new North West Cancer Centre at Altnagelvin Hospital which will provide radiation oncology services to HSE Donegal patients as well as to the Western Health and Social Care Trust population. Furthermore, in May 2016 the HSE Saolta Hospital Group and the Western Health and Social Care Trust, commenced a primary Percutaneous Coronary Intervention service (to treat emergency cardiac cases) for Donegal patients at Altnagelvin Hospital in Derry City.