Minister of State for Health Promotion and the National Drugs Strategy, Catherine Byrne today (21st July) attended an informal meeting of EU Health Ministers where she also had one to one meetings with representatives from the UK, Finland, Croatia, Latvia and the Czech Republic.
During a discussion on the harmful use of alcohol, Minster Byrne reaffirmed Ireland’s support for measures to tackle alcohol-related harm. She pointed out, “As with other countries, alcohol is associated with many aspects of Irish social and cultural life. But we cannot ignore the truth about the harms associated with alcohol and the dangers of its misuse and we are committed to tackling this in Ireland. We have published the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill and it is intended to pass this legislation through our Parliament during its next session which begins in the Autumn.”
Minister Byrne also affirmed Ireland’s support for collaborative approaches in the area of eHealth during a discussion on digital health and data-driven healthcare. She said “eHealth can make a significant contribution to improving patient care and empowering patients. Ireland is making good progress on implementing its national eHealth strategy and continues to actively participate in European initiatives on eHealth.”
Minister Byrne then took the opportunity to inform colleagues about the 4th Global Forum on Human Resources for Health, which will be held in Dublin from the 13th to the 17th of November 2017. The Forum will be co-hosted by Trinity College, Irish Aid, the Department of Health, the Health Service Executive, the World Health Organization and Global Health Workforce Network.
The Minister had a number of bilateral meetings with representatives from Latvia, Finland, Croatia, and the Czech Republic on Ireland’s bid to have the European Medicines Agency, currently located in London, relocate to Dublin. During these meetings the Minister said, “Ensuring continuity of and minimising disruption to the work of the Agency when it relocates is essential. A move to Dublin provides a sound, sustainable base for the EMA’s current standards of excellence”.