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Specialist ops delayed

25th January 2013

Welsh patients awaiting surgery in English hospitals are being caught in a cross-border wrangle over funding.

heart surgery

Health managers in Wales have told hospitals in England providing specialist care such as heart surgery, neurosurgery and plastic surgery for Welsh patients to delay some operations until the end March to help save cash.

And they have threatened not to pay the hospitals if the patients are treated too quickly, despite the Welsh government saying all patients should be treated within set times.

A letter from the Welsh Health Specialised Services Committee (WHSSC), and written on behalf of Welsh health boards, also requests English hospitals only to undertake scheduled procedures if there is a risk that patients have to wait longer than 26 weeks.

However, Conservative health spokesman Darren Millar has called on Health Minister Lesley Griffiths to act.

He said: “This advice is completely unacceptable and grossly unfair. Any instruction which puts the health of Welsh patients on the backburner is unjust and should be stopped immediately.

“There is no reason why Welsh patients referred to a hospital over the border should be forced to remain in pain and discomfort on the whim of this committee and I urge the minister to take decisive action to overrule this advice.”

The WHSSC said the move was "to ensure equity for all Welsh patients".

But Marcus Longley, director of the Welsh Institute for Health and Social Care at the University of Glamorgan, said people would find it offensive with the health system appearing to be putting money in front of clinical considerations.

 

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