Health Minister Simon Hamilton has today reaffirmed his commitment to continue engaging with Europe on the eHealth agenda.
Minister Hamilton met with senior officials from the European Commission in Brussels today to outline the innovative approaches to health and care delivery in Northern Ireland and to highlight the adoption of technology solutions to improve services, care and patient engagement.
Minister Hamilton said: "Challenges being faced by the NI health and social care system are common across Europe. Key among them: an ageing population (by 2061 it is estimated that 53% of our population will be aged 65 and over); associated rise in chronic illness; unhealthy lifestyles; keeping abreast of innovation; and all at a time of acute budgetary pressure. I want to build engagement with Europe in the health arena so that we can maximise any potential opportunities for collaboration.
"Northern Ireland’s involvement in the European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing has enabled us to develop valuable new networks in Europe and we must continue to build on this and to develop the Reference Site Collaborative Network.
"I believe that we have a lot to offer other regions from Europe but equally we have a lot to learn from what others are doing. We already have strong relationships with the Basque Region, Andalucia, Catalonia, Oulu, and our neighbours in Scotland and the Republic of Ireland. Other regions are very interested in our work in this area and we have been developing links with Poland, Lithuania, Germany and a number of Balkan States."
The Minister continued: "I am keen to realise the benefits of engagement with Europe and I am grateful to the Commission for its ongoing support in helping us to maximise these opportunities."
Notes to editors:
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