Page last updated at 12:36 GMT, Monday, 10 December 2012

NSMC: Health

The health minister said a cross-border child protection conference would be held in the first half of 2013, on 10 December 2012.

Edwin Poots was updating the Assembly on the outcome of the North South Ministerial Council (NSMC), Health and Food Safety sectoral meeting, held in Armagh on 21 November.

Mr Poots said that conference delegates would "share practice knowledge, research and learning amongst policy makers, practitioners and managers in relation to safeguarding and child protection practices".

The announcement was welcomed by the chair of the health committee, Sue Ramsey.

Mr Poots said the NSMC also noted the first meeting of the North South Alcohol Forum in October.

"Key players in alcohol policy from both jurisdictions met to share information and practice in dealing with alcohol misuse," he added.

"The continuing development of strategies in both jurisdictions on alcohol misuse and collaboration on minimum unit pricing for alcohol was also noted."

Ulster Unionist Upper Bann MLA Sam Gardiner asked the minister whether discussions had taken place on the availability of cheap alcohol.

Mr Poots said that there was a debate right across the UK on the issue and that any cost increase as a result of minimum pricing would have little impact on moderate drinkers.

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