The life expectancy of children born in Northern Ireland is 1.6 years lower than in the Republic, it has been claimed.
Dr Seamus McGuinness, an economist at the Economic and Social Research Institute, made the claim at a meeting of the civic nationalism group Ireland's Future on Thursday night.
He said Northern Ireland's health system has been the worst performing of any UK region and pointed out its track record of missing hospital waiting time targets.
Dr McGuinness said that life expectancy of Northern Ireland children born in 2017 in 1.6 years lower than in the Republic.
New figures show that 94,000 people in Northern Ireland are waiting more than a year for an appointment with a consultant.
This is compare with 3,364 in England - despite England's population being 30 times larger.
“Both health services have their problems, but you can no longer hold the NHS in the North as the gold standard or something that will be a huge loss,” he said, according to The Irish Times.
“There is very little point of having health care free at the point of access if you can’t access it.”
Dr McGuinness also said that, while Britain grants Northern Ireland £9.2 billion each year, this drops significantly when east-west contributions to UK debt, defence budget and pension liabilities are removed.