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Minister attends British-Irish Council meeting

Friday, 20 April 2018

Minister for Health and Social Care, David Ashford MHK, today represented the Isle of Man at a British-Irish Council Ministerial meeting in Edinburgh.

The meeting, hosted by the Scottish Government, focused on social inclusion and the important role played by carers.

Ministers adopted a report entitled Caring for our Carers: Supporting unpaid carers in the British-Irish Council Administrations. The report highlights the challenges presented by changing demographics and the increasing number of people living with long-term conditions and complex needs.

Discussions centred on the work taking place across BIC member countries to support people of all ages who care for family members or others in their local communities.

Ministers praised the contribution made by voluntary organisations and agreed to further explore the potential of social enterprises as a way to tackle pressing issues.

Minister Ashford and Department Chief Executive Dr Malcolm Couch attended the British-Irish Council (BIC) meeting alongside representatives from other sovereign governments, devolved administrations and crown dependencies.

They joined delegations headed by Aileen Campbell MSP, Minister for Public Health and Sport (Scotland), Huw Irranca-Davies AM, Minister for Children and Social Care (Wales), Caroline Dinenage MP, Minister of State for Health and Social Care (UK), Jim Daly TD, Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People (Ireland), Paul Routier, Assistant Minister to the Chief Minister (Jersey) and Jane Stephens, Member of the Policy and Resources Committee (Guernsey). An official observer attended on behalf of the Northern Ireland Executive.

The BIC, established under the terms of the Good Friday peace agreement, is the only international forum comprising the governments of the UK, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey. It plays an important role in developing positive links between member countries and provides a platform for consultation and co-operation.

Minister Ashford said:

‘In common with many countries around the world, the Isle of Man is working to meet the challenges posed by an ageing population and the increasing demand for paid and unpaid care. Our carers and third sector organisations do an outstanding job to help vulnerable people. The Isle of Man Government is looking to strengthen community partnerships and to put in place appropriate measures of support as part of our efforts to promote a caring and inclusive society.’

He added:

‘The meeting in Edinburgh was positive and productive. By sharing policy, ideas and research, BIC member administrations can learn a great deal from each other’s experience in this area.’

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