Thursday, 19 November 2020

Ceisteanna (340, 341, 342)

Brendan Smith

Ceist:

340. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Health the progress to date in implementing measures on an all-island basis to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic following the signing of the memorandum of understanding between the Departments of Health, North and South; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37744/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Brendan Smith

Ceist:

341. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Health the measures agreed at the North-South Ministerial Council meeting on health in October 2020 to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic on an all-island basis; the progress to date in implementing such measures; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37745/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Brendan Smith

Ceist:

342. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Health his plans to utilise the co-operation and working together framework to intensify co-operation on a cross-Border basis in dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37746/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 340 to 342, inclusive, together.

There has been significant engagement and cooperation between the Ministers for Health, the Chief Medical Officers, and the Departments of Health in Ireland and Northern Ireland throughout this pandemic.  

An MOU on COVID-19 Response and Public Health Cooperation, was formally agreed by the Chief Medical Officers of the Department of Health and the Department of Health in Northern Ireland on 7th of April 2020.   The administrations are seeking to adopt similar approaches, where it is appropriate to do so and on the advice of respective Chief Medical Officers. Meetings of the North South Ministerial Council are an important pillar in our regular engagements with NI counterparts on COVID-19.

A meeting of the North South Ministerial Council for Health and Food Safety was held on 2nd of October 2020. The close and productive cooperation that has taken place between Health Ministers, Chief Medical Officers and health administrations North and South to deliver an effective public health response on Covid-19 was welcomed by myself and by Minister Swann. It was agreed that both jurisdictions are committed to continue to exchange views in order to foster a commonality of approach in response to the pandemic and hope to provide a progress update at a future NSMC Health meeting.

Practical implementation of the MoU has seen cooperation on contact tracing apps, critical care, and to discuss the recent outbreak of COVID-19 in Mink in Denmark.

The Cooperation and working together partnership between the Health Service Executive and the Southern and Western health and social care trusts, the health and social care board and the public health agency in Northern Ireland health continue to play a significant role in promoting cross border health and social care cooperation. CAWT continue to deliver projects on a north south basis.