Drop in cross-border birth tourists

 

The BBC article states that residents, cross-border workers and private patients from other EU states like the Republic of Ireland can access maternity services in Northern Ireland. The European Commission defines a cross-border worker as a person who works in a different EU country from where they live, provided they return to the country where they live at least once a week.

It points out that cross-border births account for a very small number of the total births in Northern Ireland each year.  It also says that only a small number of women whose registered address is in Northern Ireland gave birth in the Republic of Ireland, less than 25 births each year since 2012.

The article says that a small number of women registered in the Republic of Ireland give birth in Northern Ireland in the case of an emergency labour, others choose to deliver in hospitals in Northern Ireland as a private patient.  This is particularly common in border counties like Donegal and Monaghan where the nearest hospital with maternity services is in Northern Ireland.

It is thought the drop in numbers is due to fewer mothers were having their babies privately in Northern Ireland, and fewer doctors and hospitals in Northern Ireland providing private healthcare to patients from another jurisdiction due to additional premiums.

British and Irish ministers have signed a deal to preserve free movement for citizens crossing the Irish border and cross-border access for health care. The departments of health in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland have said they are committed to continuing cross-border health services after Brexit.

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