SDLP Assembly Member for Newry and Armagh Justin McNulty MLA has called for greater cross border cooperation in areas of Health and Social Care in border communities. Mr McNulty was speaking after leading consultant Dr Peter Maguire spoke out this week about the different approaches to healthcare North and South.

Mr McNulty said, ‘Dr Maguire is a well-respected medic and this honest account of working both in Newry and Monaghan raises serious questions about our health system here, and challenges those in authority to act.’

‘Dr Maguire has highlighted his differing experiences in working north and south and in doing so has contrasted the ease of doing his job in the South in comparison to the North where he encounters bureaucracy and red-tape. He also issues a stark warning of the potential impact Brexit will have in the sector.’

‘We can and should learn what is good about the services and approaches in our different jurisdictions. People living in border communities already access some health care services on the opposite side of the border in areas such as GP Out of Hours Service in Castleblaney or Dialysis Care in Daisy Hill. These developments cannot be impeded by Brexit. In fact, I firmly believe they should be expanded on rapidly.’

‘We are acutely aware of the difficulty in recruiting the appropriately qualified staff from nurses and doctors to consultants. This is going to be made even more difficult as the Tory government seek to control immigration further. As our health services, on both sides of the border struggle to cope with the shortages in staff and bureaucracy, it makes sense to work closer together, to develop cross border services and to ensure services are delivered close to those who need them in an effective and efficient way.’