Irish politicians pushed for closer collaboration between UK and Ireland with respect to Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy patient care this week at the British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly. Deputy Joe McHugh TD reitterated the words of the minister for health stating that for rare diseases such as Duchenne, that it was not feasibile to expect Ireland to manage the full extent of the care requirements on it's own and that international co-operation expecially with our closest neighbour, the UK was essential.
"I acknowledge the contributions by many members on health synergies across Britain and Ireland. There is the success of the partnership approach between the Irish Government and the Northern Ireland Executive to develop radiotherapy facilities at Altnagelvin Hospital, and we should expand that to other potential areas of cross-Border and east-west co-operation. Deputy Patrick O’Donovan referred to the process where Irish boys with Duchenne muscular dystrophy go to Newcastle to avail of services to treat the disease. The Minister for Health was present on Monday, and he indicated it is not feasible to expect all rare diseases to be managed on a stand-alone basis by individual jurisdictions. There are significant advantages from a quality and economies of scale perspective to widening these matters beyond borders. Although we are focused primarily on the site of the new children’s hospital in Ireland, we should also examine how to work together on sharing services. There will be co-operation behind the scenes but if we are to have a state of the art children’s hospital providing a range of services, we should consider shared services and synergies on an east-west basis."
Deputy Joe McHugh