Study to examine cross-border care

Resource type: News

Irish Medical Times | [ View Original Source (opens in new window) ]

The Centre for Cross Border Studies is an Atlantic grantee.


A new cross-border study will revisit the controversial Teamwork report that recommended just one public hospital in the northeast with 24/7 clinical services.


As staff in the region are digesting the news that emergency services, acute general medicine and critical care are to be centralised in Drogheda, the Centre for Cross Border Studies (CCBS) revealed it wants experts to draw up a new prototype ‘modelling tool’ for hospital planning on a border region and all-island basis.


The 16-month-long project will examine the number, size and possible locations of hospitals that would be required, North and South, if the planning of acute services in the border region was on the basis of ‘population needs rather than jurisdictional frontiers’.


Organised in partnership with the Institute of Public Health in Ireland, the CCBS expects the study to commence next month and be completed no later than April 2011.


An interim report will be produced by June next year and a stakeholders’ conference is planned for January 2011, which should help shape the final report.


A 2007 publication from the Centre, ‘Removing the Barriers’, concluded that there was a clear case for joint hospital planning and rationalisation in the border region.


Carried out by Drs Jim Jamison and Michelle Butler, the report said there appeared to be a ‘greater premium on accessibility’ in Northern Ireland than in the Republic.


It recommended revisiting the influential Teamwork report and suggested that consideration should be given to facilitating access by people in Northern border areas to any new hospital located in the northeast.


Similarly, in April 2008, an OECD report took issue with a recommendation from the Health Partnership Consultancy Group that the northeast’s principal hospital should be situated in Navan, between 70 and 80 minutes’ drive from the border, and suggested that the Government should look at the option of two major hospitals in the northeast.


This new study — for which the Centre has set aside Stg£60,000 (€68,500) in EU funding to carry out — is expected to build on these two reports and draw on comparable practice elsewhere in Europe.


The CCBS is funded by the EU, the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Reconciliation Fund and various charities, including Chuck Feeney’s Atlantic Philanthropies.