An €8.8 million EU INTERREG VA funded cross-border project was launched this week at Letterkenny University Hospital. The CAWT Acute Services Project has recently secured this EU funding to assess and treat higher volumes of patients more effectively through improvements to and modernisation of current service delivery models.
This EU funding allocation has been secured by the Co-operation and Working Together (CAWT) Health and Social Care Partnership. The Partnership comprises the Health and Social Care Board, the HSE, the Southern Health and Social Care Trust, the Western Health and Social Care Trust and the Public Health Agency.
Both scheduled and unscheduled care services will be reformed and modernised as part of this cross border EU funded project. The scheduled care activities focus on the specialities of dermatology, urology and vascular interventions. Unscheduled care initiatives being implemented include new advanced community paramedic services, clinical decision unit, community cardiac investigations and a community geriatrician led service.
It is also planned to establish an integrated clinical dermatology network using telehealth technologies. Other additional technology solutions will be investigated and implemented to enable clinicians to communicate with patients outside of the acute hospital setting. Specialist training for staff across all of these areas will be undertaken to support the development and implementation of these new and innovative ways of working.
Welcoming the investment, Paul Cavanagh, Western Commissioning Lead at the Health and Social Care Board said: “I welcome this important EU funded project and support the cross border approach to improving access to health services for people living in the border areas. The CAWT Acute Hospital Services Project enhances reform underway in Northern Ireland to build capacity in scheduled and unscheduled care services. The investment in telehealth solutions offers opportunities to modernise services through exploring the potential of technology in developing more responsive health and social care services. The CAWT Acute Hospital Services Project demonstrates the commitment of all partners to the transformation of health and social care systems on both sides of the border.”
Launching the event, Project Chair Sean Murphy, General Manager of Letterkenny University Hospital said: “It is a great privilege to be part of the CAWT cross border group that has secured this additional investment for communities and services. The collaborative working required to deliver this suite of initiatives, with the support of the EU funding, will provide patients with additional quality services and, in many situations, enable them to be treated much closer to home.” He added: “This project will also help to further strengthen and consolidate cross border and north/south co-operation in health and social care.”
Speaking at the launch of the CAWT Acute Hospitals Services project, Gina McIntyre, CEO of the Special EU Programmes Body said: “This highly innovative EU INTERREG VA funded project will deliver real efficiencies in vital health and social care services for the benefit of thousands of people on a cross-border basis. It will utilise some of the latest advances in e-health technology and enhance access to essential medical care used in the treatment of a wide-range of life-threatening illnesses.”
Commenting, Alastair Campbell, Director of Secondary Care in the Department of Health in Northern Ireland said: “The Department is delighted to be providing match-funding to this CAWT cross border project. The aims and objectives of the project support the Department of Health’s priorities for a modern health and social care service, in particular the focus on new ways of working across traditional organisational boundaries, the use of technology to drive better services, and ultimately, care that is designed around patients. He added: “I have no doubt that this project will provide valuable learning for other transformation projects underway in health and social care in Northern Ireland.”
Match-funding for the project has been provided by both Departments of Health in Ireland and Northern Ireland.
Further information on the Acute Hospital Services Project, and other EU INTERREG VA funded health and social care projects, is available on the CAWT website.