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Daisy Hill should be on agenda in Brexit negotiations - Action Group

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

THE Daisy Hill Action Group believes that the development of an acute teaching and research hospital in Newry for the border region should be on the agenda in upcoming Brexit negotiations.

The Chairman of the group, Francis Gallagher, believes that a cross-border health strategy is the best way to deal with the growing population of an area that is projected to become the most populous on the island within the next fifty years.

Mr Gallagher said: "Our longer term vision is to have a new all-island teaching and research acute hospital based in the Newry area to cater for this border region. This makes sense because many people from the Louth and Monaghan already use Daisy Hill."

"The overall Daisy Hill Hospital building is quite old by contemporary standards. The hospital site is also limited in its space for development. A new build on a green field site is a reasonable and realistic proposition.

"Health care co-operation between the two jurisdictions on the island of Ireland could be an important part of any Brexit deal. This may have the potential to release British, Irish and European funding for a new acute hospital in the Newry area."

Mr Gallagher said that his group are currently attempting to get the Republic's Foreign Minister, Simon Coveney, to visit the city to discuss the idea of cross-border cooperation.

He said: "Our group is currently lobbying to get this placed on the Irish government's to do list in the Brexit negotiations.

"The first step will be to ask the Irish Foreign Minister, Simon Coveney, to visit Newry to discuss the matter with local people and to visit Daisy Hill Hospital."

"There are three strands to getting a new acute hospital for this area: the Brexit negotiations, the establishment of a new and more accountable model of administration at Stormont, and current discussions with the Department of Health in the North. The ideal political context for a new hospital would be within a confederal Ireland because of the better accountability of this government framework.

Mr Gallagher added: "Obviously an important part of a new hospital will be its system of governance. This is why we will be advocating for Daisy Hill and ultimately a new hospital to have its own clinical and patient led management structure. This would help to guarantee that a new hospital would keep its acute status in the long term.

"This lack of autonomy of governance contributed to the running down of acute services at the new hospital at Downpatrick. We have to make sure this does not happen at Daisy Hill or with any new hospital in the Newry area."

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