We would if we could, minister.

The Belfast Telegraph’s Health correspondent Nigel Gould interviews NIO Minister Shaun Woodward [didn’t he used to work with Esther Rantzen? – Ed]. He touches on a couple of topics – waiting lists, the failure to ensure patient safety at Sperrin Lakeland Trust, the imperative of an all-Ireland approach to health, Health Trusts running over budget – “That era is over. People don’t expect us to squander their taxes.” *ahem* About that stadium.. – and, in contrast to Peter Hain’s view on the economy, his view on the smoking ban – “Today in 2005 Northern Ireland we can say we are the progressive bit of the UK. We are the bit that leads, that wants to lead.” But the stand-out quote is, undoubtedly, “If I fail, sack me. Ministers should be accountable.”.. We would if we could, minister..

  • fmk

    totally off-topic, but given your coverage of the ashes, how come you don’t seem to be mentioning the games currently in pakistan? just cause england is getting the stuffing knocked out of them? or have you gone off cricket?

  • Brian Boru

    It’s better that it’s the full ban in the North as that way it will mean pubs on both sides of the border won’t lose business to each other due to different smoking rules. Thank you Hain. On the All-Ireland approach to health this is also good because patients in Donegal are fed up having to travel to Dublin for cancer treatment. They should be able to go to Altnagelvin instead. Likewise maybe Northern patients could travel to Southern hospitals in certain emergencies where the Southern hospital is closer. Anti-Southernism should not be allowed get in the way of such necessary and mutually beneficial cooperation.

  • Conor

    Cooperation is needed in all areas not just health. And we’re seeing more and more cross border links being established. Just take the partnership of ESB, and Coolkeeragh Power station in Derry. ESB is the Republics premier electricity utility. Now what they’ve done is open the most efficient power station on this island. Opened by Angela Smith MP and Noel Dempsey TD, what a development in creating all-island energy market. Lets see the same happening in Health. I agree with Brian Boru, the fact that cancer patients from Donegal have to travel to Dublin for treatment instead of driving an hour or less to Derry is a disgrace.

  • TOT

    Conor,
    The folks at huntstown might disagree re the most efficient power station on the island and without getting technical ESB is the only (so I suppose it is the premier) electricity utility of any size in the republic(i acknowledge the market opened on Feb 19.

    I am actually with you on the need for cross border development – the key is infrastructure roads/rail/energy etc and the rest will follow.

    NIo needs to get into gear – I have a bet on that the motorway will reach the border coming from the south 5 years before it reaches it from the north.

    TOT

  • John East Belfast

    Optomising and pulling Health & Energy services makes a lot of sense for the Island.

    The key is that they are paid for accordingly. If ROI citisens use NI hospitals in the NW then the ROI Health Service will pay for it – visa versa.
    The other important issue is that it should be spare capacity – ie no NI patients should lose out.

    On both these points from what I heard on the radio Woodward was confirming this to be the case.

    Such co-operation is common sense us of resources and I cant see any unionist objecting.

  • Conor

    According to ESB its the most efficient powerstation on the island.

  • barnshee

    “Now what they’ve done is open the most efficient power station on this island”

    What they have done is screw the NI consumer via an outrageous pricing agreement which can`t be renegotiated for 9 years- The truth is often stranger that fiction.. I blame the greedy bastards in Coolkeeragh who saw themselves right at the expense of the rest of us.