Irish health system overpaid by the UK9th April 2009
The Conservatives have called for a Parliamentary inquiry to see if the UK is wrongly giving millions of euros to the Irish Republic.
The call arises out of a position where the Irish administration gets money to pay for the healthcare of people who worked in the UK, then went home, under an agreement going back 40 years.
However, figures for 2007 have revealed that the UK overpaid by £135m, the equivalent of 150m euros.
Now, the Tories want a top-level inquiry to see if there have been further overpayments to the Irish Republic.
Shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley said: "NHS funds are always precious and it's completely unacceptable for the government to be carelessly diverting £180m a year out of our NHS.
"There are so many different ways that money could be spent to provide better care for NHS patients."
He said patients needed to know how much has been overpaid and he has sought assurances that it will not happen again.
Under the agreement, the UK government has been paying 450 euros a year but in December 2006 health minister Mary Harney told the Irish parliament that the UK authorities had formed the view they were overpaying.
The Department of Health has said future payments would be lower and it has emerged the 2008 figures will be closer to 250m euros.
It says this is because the data with which they calculate the payment has improved and that more people are entitled to an Irish pension, meaning Ireland is now liable for their healthcare costs.
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Title: Irish health system overpaid by the UK
Author: Mark Nicholls
Article Id: 10933
Date Added: 9th Apr 2009