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A Department spokesperson confirmed that a special sub-committee has been established to plan for the consequences of Brexit.
“Following the ‘leave’ referendum result, the Department of Health is continuing its work to consider in further detail the impacts, risks, opportunities and contingencies arising in the area of health,” a Department spokesperson told the Medical Independent (MI). “Detailed contingency planning is challenging when it is not yet known what new arrangements will be put in place between the EU and UK; a conclusive analysis is therefore not possible at this stage.
“Assessing and managing the risks related to the UK’s decision to leave the EU will be an iterative process as issues emerge and recede in the coming weeks and months. However, the Department of Health will be fully involved in negotiations around the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.
“Ensuring that there is minimum disruption in the area of health and that essential services are maintained will be our key priority.”
Minister for Health Simon Harris will meet the Northern Ireland Minister for Health, Michelle O’Neill, at the North-South Ministerial Council Health and Food Safety sectoral meeting in Armagh on 9 November, the spokesperson said. “This will be an opportunity for the Ministers to continue their consideration of the potential implications of the leave vote for all-island health institutions and services.”
Minister Harris also recently met with the UK Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health and discussed the issue of Brexit and how it may impact on the area of health.
Speaking to MI at the recent Irish Cardiac Society Scientific Sessions 2016 in Kilkenny, Dr Albert McNeill, Consultant Cardiologist at Altnagelvin Hospital, Derry, said: “I don’t think Brexit will affect cross-border co-operation in cardiac care. In practical terms, the pathways will be set up; I think that will continue [after Brexit] and I don’t see that as a problem.”