Representatives of the IMO [Irish Medical Organisation] and BMA NI [British Medical Association NI] met recently to discuss their experiences of COVID 19 and the impact of the disease particularly in the border areas.
Both organisations expressed grave concern as to the impact of the disease on their respective health services in terms of COVID care and the delay on non COVID care and called on the Irish Government and Northern Ireland Executive to have greater co-operation in terms of public health measures.
Dr Tom Black, BMA Northern Ireland Council chair said that “If there are different restrictions, north and south, it is the border areas that suffer” and highlighted that “the areas with the highest infection rates are often in the border areas.”
Dr Denis McCauley, Chair of the IMO GP Committee said, “Greater co-operation is essential if we are to protect the public, reduce transmissions and infections and ultimately save lives.”
Both organisations agreed that the COVID pandemic has had a tremendous impact on already overstretched frontline staff and caused unprecedented pressures on the respective health systems; both of which were already unfit for purpose prior to the emergence of COVID.
Key to coming out of this pandemic safely and sustainably is the need for both jurisdictions to invest in their respective public health services and in particular support and value the essential role of public health medicine.
Both organisations expressed their gratitude to doctors and other healthcare workers who went above and beyond and who have worked in intense and stressful environments with little respite.
Notes to editors
The BMA is a trade union and professional association representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.