Scots patients referred to England31st January 2011
Figures have revealed that the health service in Scotland paid out over £200,000 to send patients suffering from chronic back pain to England to be treated.
Labour MSP Jackie Baillie said 21 Scottish patients were sent to a centre in Bath to be treated in the first half of 2010.
The government in Scotland stated that the amount of patients being treated in the south was far less numerous than in the past.
The data showed that eight of the 14 health boards in Scotland sent patients with chronic back pain to the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases, which cost the NHS £206,685.
The figures also revealed that 23 patients were sent to the hospital in 2008/09 and 18 in 2009/10, at an overall cost of over £620,000.
Ms Baillie, Labour's health spokeswoman, said: "Forcing patients who are already suffering from painful conditions to endure long journeys away from friends and family to receive treatment should be avoided if at all possible.
"These figures show that it is also very expensive. If the appropriate treatment is not available closer to home via our NHS then we have to look at working in tandem with independent providers to utilise these services."
The health secretary Nicola Sturgeon said the government had been investigating the issue.
She added that the government were considering a range of alternative options "which might remove the need for such referrals."
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Title: Scots patients referred to England
Author: Jess Laurence
Article Id: 17400
Date Added: 31st Jan 2011