€3.5 million has been allocated to the border counties as part of a health project designed to enable older people locally with long term conditions (LTCs) to take the steps needed to live well, safely and independently in their own homes. It's part of an €8.7 million cross-border project aimed at transforming the lives of older people on the island of Ireland as well as Scotland. 

The project will be implemented in the Southern Health and Social Care Trust area of South Armagh/Newry.

This allocation to the border areas has been secured by the Co-operation and Working Together (CAWT) Health and Social Care partnership and the project partners are the HSE, the Southern Health and Social Care Trust and Western Health and Social Care Trust.

Pictured at the launch of the Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland EU funded mPower cross border health project, which will be delivered in the South Armagh/Newry area of the Southern Health and Social Trust are(l to r): Gerard Rocks, Southern Trust; Dr Mary Donnelly, GP; Michele Bekmez, Health and Social Care Board; Gina McIntyre, the Special EU Programmes Body; Edel O'Doherty, CAWT cross border health and Alan Connor, mPower Project Manager.
Pictured at the launch of the Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland EU funded mPower cross border health project, which will be delivered in the South Armagh/Newry area of the Southern Health and Social Trust. Included are from left, Gerard Rocks, Southern Trust; Dr Mary Donnelly, GP; Michele Bekmez, Health and Social Care Board; Gina McIntyre, the Special EU Programmes Body; Edel O'Doherty, CAWT cross border health and Alan Connor, mPower Project Manager.

Funded by the European Union’s INTERREG VA Programme and managed by the Special EU Programmes Body, ‘mPower’ aims to empower patients to take control of their conditions at home by using technology, while simultaneously freeing up GPs and other healthcare professionals so that they can treat more people.

Shona Robison, Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport in the Scottish Government, joined public and other partners from Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland to announce the project launch at an event in Edinburgh this week.

Commenting on the Southern Health and Social Care Trust’s involvement, Acting Director of Older People and Primary Care, Melanie McClements said: “The Trust is delighted to be a partner in the mPower project, along with partners in Ireland and Scotland. This project will utilise both innovative technology and social support to enable our older citizens to manage their health and wellbeing in their own communities and homes. This project complements and supports the direction of the Trust by supporting people who are living longer, often with long-term health conditions to be able to remain at home and connected to their community for as long as possible.”

CAWT’s Chief Officer, Bernie McCrory said: “I’m delighted that we in CAWT have supported all those involved in the mPower project to secure this valuable investment for the border region of Ireland and Northern Ireland. We look forward to working with NHS 24 in Scotland as the lead partner for the project and to seeing the benefits mPower will add to people’s lives and to the future of health care.”

Speaking at the official launch of the project, Gina McIntyre, CEO of the SEUPB said: “I am delighted to be able to share in the launch of this novel cross-border project which will help thousands of older people across Scotland, Ireland and Northern Ireland live longer with more confidence in their own homes and communities.”  She added: “It also reflects larger scale EU health and social care policies in relation to the promotion of e-health based initiatives, by helping citizen’s manage their own health and well-being through the use of innovative technologies.”

Developing wellbeing plans

From late 2017 to December 2021, mPower ‘Community Navigators’ will be employed to work with people referred from health and care services to develop wellbeing plans connecting them to activities in their community as well as to new technology to enhance support for health and wellbeing. Over the course of the project, mPower will support a total of 2,500 people through the development of wellbeing plans, and a total of 4,500 people through technology / eHealth interventions.