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War of words over ‘border’ NHS

A senior MP, and clinical staff have locked swords over a decision that the Conservative parliamentarian has labelled a “cynical move” to take cash from “English taxpayers” to maintain “under-utilised facilities” in Wales.

Wales Online reports that Forest of Dean MP Mark Harper said English patients registeredwith a Welsh GP “are having their choice of care taken away, and are being forced to receive treatment at hospitals in Wales”, and as a consequence could face increased waiting times and poorer quality service.

A spokesman for Aneurin Bevan Health Board said the move was to establish uniform arrangements for patients and was part of the UK Government’s call for strong co-operation between the NHS in England and the NHS in Wales.

It told Wales Online that this was “supported by an annual transfer of funds (£5.8m in 2011-12) from the Department of Heath to the Welsh Government to cover the costs of providing secondary care to the excess number of patients who live in England but have a GP in Wales.”