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Poots attends EU Health Ministers’ meeting

Edwin Poots will today attend a high-level meeting of EU Health Ministers to discuss a range of major issues affecting people in Northern Ireland.
Monday, 4 March 2013

Under the auspices of the Irish Presidency of the Council of the European Union, Minister Poots will join over 40 delegates, including Ministers and senior officials from all 27 EU member states as well as representatives from the European Commission at the meeting in Dublin. The Minister will also take the opportunity to have one-to-one meetings with the other Health Ministers.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, the Minister said; “This is a very high-level meeting with Ministers from across the EU and it is important that I am able to bring issues to the table which affect Northern Ireland. Obesity, patient safety, smoking-related diseases and the economy are not isolated to Northern Ireland. Indeed, these issues affect all of the EU and I intend to use this opportunity to not only learn what other EU states are doing about them, but also to share what we are doing.

“Although we are small in comparison to some of the other EU nations, we are innovative, flexible, forward thinking and have much to share with them.”

On the agenda for the Dublin Castle meeting, are childhood obesity, the impact of the economic crisis on health systems and services, children with complex developmental needs (including autism), working towards a smoke free environment and patient safety. Mr Poots intends to take the opportunity to hold bilateral meetings with other delegates.

The Minister continued: “The economic downturn has had a significant impact on health services across the EU and this is a good opportunity to understand what other nations are doing to address the pressures. I will outline Northern Ireland’s Transforming Your Care strategy, which aims to move care closer to home, reform how our health service operates and have the added advantage of ensuring we use our limited resources effectively and most appropriately.”

Notes to editors:

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