Petition launched against Countess of Chester’s decision to bar patients from Wales
A petition has been launched against the Countess of Chester Hospital’s decision to bar patients living in Wales.
Earlier this month, the Trust responsible for running the English hospital said it would no longer accept new patients from over the border except for in emergencies or maternity cases.
Senior figures blamed the move to prohibit outpatient referrals on an ongoing funding row with the Welsh Government after claiming it was not being paid enough to look after them.
However, the move has been greeted with anger, particularly in Flintshire where thousands of people are affected.
Plaid Cymru politicians have now set up a petition demanding that the Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust reverses the move.
A spokesperson said: “The unilateral ban on Welsh patients is unethical and goes against the values of the NHS.
“There is a financial dispute that needs to be resolved urgently between various NHS bodies and they must act immediately to end this stalemate.
“In the meantime we demand that patients are allowed to access services at the Countess of Chester Hospital.”
It is understood that payments made by Welsh trusts for operations are currently lower than those made by their counterparts in England.
However, Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board is said to be up to date with its installments based on scales which are set at a national level.
Last week, the Welsh Government’s health secretary Vaughan Gething has said it was “unacceptable” for the hospital not to accept certain patients living in Wales.
It comes as negotiations regarding tariffs are ongoing between various government and NHS bodies on both sides.
Mr Gething said: “I have been very clear that the action taken is unacceptable and not in line with the statement of values and principles agreed between the NHS in Wales and NHS in England that we will act in the best interest of patients at all times.
“Residents in Flintshire have a long history and relationship with the hospital.
“In light of the decision taken by the Countess of Chester Hospital I immediately asked officials to engage with the UK Government Department for Health and Social Care.
“We have requested it takes action to de-escalate the position and I will be following this up directly with ministers in the UK Government.”
A copy of the Plaid Cymru petition can be found at https://www.wrexhamplaid.cymru/countess_of_chester
By Liam Randall – BBC Local Democracy Reporter (more here on the LDR scheme).
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