Health chiefs on both sides of the border are examining the possibility of keeping some children's cardiac surgery in Northern Ireland, it has emerged.
After MLAs united to oppose the loss of paediatric cardiac services from Belfast to Dublin, Stormont's health chief Edwin Poots met his Irish counterpart James Reilly yesterday to discuss a number of issues.
Speaking during a visit to the new South West hospital in Enniskillen, Mr Poots said: "My preference would be that it is done on a network basis with an element of surgery continuing in Belfast.
"That is a difficult challenge, it is a difficult ask, and it would require almost certainly patients from the likes of Donegal coming to Belfast for surgery whilst the more complex surgery would end up in Dublin. I need the cooperation of my counterparts in Dublin to agree that."
Mr Reilly said: "Our departments have been working together on a range of services including the provision of paediatric cardiac surgery on an all-island basis.
"We're also looking at the provision of cardiac services in the north-west.
"Such a provision will be hugely beneficial to patients on both sides of the border."