21,000 people benefit from cross border health services

21,000 people from across Northern Ireland and the border counties of the Heath Service Executive (HSE) have benefited from cross border health and social care services the annual report of Co-operation and Working Together (CAWT) 2011 has revealed.

21,000 people from across Northern Ireland and the border counties of the Heath Service Executive (HSE) have benefited from cross border health and social care services the annual report of Co-operation and Working Together (CAWT) 2011 has revealed.

The Co-operation and Working Together (CAWT) 2011 annual report was launched at an event in Armagh to recognise the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the CAWT cross border health and social care partnership.

Permanent Secretary at the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS), Dr Andrew McCormick and Secretary General at the Department of Health in the Republic of Ireland, Dr Ambrose McLoughlin, jointly launched the CAWT annual report, noting that 21,000 people from across Northern Ireland and the border counties of the Heath Service Executive (HSE) have benefited from cross border health and social care services currently underway.

CAWT’s Director General, Donegal man, Tom Daly, from the HSE said: “CAWT is celebrating 20 years of cross border health and social care this year and our programme of work is reaching more people than ever. Our activities are focused on enabling patients and clients, many of whom live in more rural border areas, to have better access to quality health and social care services. He added: “the investment from the EU INTERREG IVA programme is enabling the health services to put in place new ways of working through a cross border approach which is directly benefiting patients and clients living in border areas.”

The North South Ministerial Council joint secretaries, Mary Bunting and Margaret Stanley attended the event and welcomed the launch of the CAWT annual report.

These cross border health and social care services are being delivered by CAWT with funding provided primarily by the European Union’s INTERREG IVA programme, which is designed to address the economic and social disadvantage often found in border areas.

Acknowledging CAWT’s achievements, Dr Ambrose McLoughlin, Secretary General at the Department of Health said: “I’d like to take this opportunity to recognise the important work of CAWT, the cross border health and social care partnership, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. CAWT has been hugely successful in forging strong working relationships between the health services in both jurisdictions in the border corridor. Currently 12 major projects, with 21,000 beneficiaries from both North and South, are being implemented, with the vital assistance of €30 million from the EU’s INTERREG IVA programme. Cross border partnerships such as CAWT provide a practical working model of how cross border public services can be successfully developed.”

Commenting, DHSSPS Permanent Secretary, Dr Andrew McCormick said: “The DHSSPS has jointly led in securing this valuable EU investment for additional health and social care services, which are being delivered by the Southern and Western Health and Social Care Trusts and the Republic’s Health Service Executive in the border area through the CAWT partnership. Importantly, patients and clients are seeing tangible benefits for the specific services which fall within the CAWT remit.”

Commenting on cross border activity in the HSE West border counties, Regional Director of Operations, John Hennessy said: “The HSE West’s involvement in cross border activities is bringing direct benefits to clients and patients. In particular it has enabled the HSE West to enhance access to such services as ENT, vascular, disability, autism and initiatives to tackle health inequalities and promote good health. Significantly, by working together and sharing resources across the border we can provide better access to services for patients and clients living in our more rural border areas.”

The event was addressed by Cathal Magee, CEO of the HSE in the Republic of Ireland and John Compton, CE of the Health and Social Care Board in Northern Ireland. Both Mr Magee and Mr Compton congratulated CAWT on 20 years of cross border health co-operation and highlighted that there are tremendous opportunities for both jurisdictions, North and South, to assist and work with each other in the current tightened financial climate to optimise the finite resources available.