Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 23 July 2014

DebateNI home of Northern Ireland politics

New deal 'will help' NHS claim from south

"We should be able to claim the money back from the Republic of Ireland."
"We should be able to claim the money back from the Republic of Ireland."

Hospital chiefs in Northern Ireland should be able to recoup cash from the Republic for its citizens using the health service here, the Health Minister has insisted.

The DUP's Edwin Poots told MLAs it was a difficult issue but a deal signed with the Republic in July should prove helpful.

UUP MLA Sandra Overend said while health care is free in Northern Ireland, people in the southpay €50 to €75 to visit a GP and €100 (£850) for a hospital visit. She said hospitals should publish the income they receive from patients from across the border.

Mr Poots said: "Take Altnagelvin Area Hospital or Daisy Hill Hospital, which are right on the border. On Saturday nights, people arrive into the emergency departments a little the worse for wear having been out in some of the facilities in the cities.

"Clearly, many of those people will come from the Republic of Ireland because of the proximity of the cities to the border, and they will require treatment. They are not ordinarily resident in Northern Ireland, but we should be able to claim the money back from the Republic of Ireland."

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