Health Policy

13.11.18

Wales and England NHS bodies get new cross-border healthcare regulations

 Lord O’Shaughnessy has announced a new set of arrangements on the delivery of healthcare across the border between Wales and England.

The government said that whilst healthcare across the border is “collaborative and high-quality,” it is aware of problems affecting “significant number of patients” who live along the Welsh-English border.

It says there have been issues for a number of years with how these people access healthcare in accordance with their rights, and that the new statement would remove ambiguity and resolve the issues.

The new cross-border arrangements, called the ‘Statement of Values and Principles,’ were agreed between the Department of Health and Social Care and the Welsh Government, and replaces the existing protocol which was established in 2005.

The main purpose of the statement is to prevent any treatment being refused or delayed due to uncertainty or ambiguity over which body is funding a person’s healthcare.

The old protocol outlined a process for residents on the border accessing healthcare and which bodies were legally and financially responsible, but soon after publication it was realised that the protocol did not comply with English law and constitutional rights.

English residents living along the border and registered with Welsh GPs “were unable to exercise their rights to English standards in terms of waiting times for treatment and choice of secondary care provider.”

The government says that “extensive work” has been carried out on both sides to ensure this is now possible, with both sides working with CCGs and local health boards to develop the new statement.

Patients will now be able to elect to receive treatment in Wales if they wish, and accept Welsh standards, or be referred to a provider under contract with NHS England.

The government said it is “pleased” that the new deal has been “collaborative across the border” and hopes it will provide a long-term resolution.

 Image credit - WalterGalloway

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