Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Shropshire & Telford NHS Trust loses £2m per year treating Welsh patients

The following letter has been sent to the press in the West Midlands and Shropshire MPs:

Tom Taylor, Chief Executive of the Shrewsbury & Telford NHS Trust, has confirmed what the Shropshire branch of the Campaign for an English Parliament has been saying for the last couple of years – that treating Welsh patients in Shropshire hospitals is costing millions of pounds that could be spent treating English patients.

Mr Taylor says that treating Welsh patients in the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford is costing the Trust £2m per year because of differences in funding and targets.

The Campaign for an English Parliament doesn’t have a problem with Welsh patients being treated in English hospitals but the NHS Trusts involved have a responsibility to ensure that in treating patients from another country they don’t compromise the treatment of patients living in England. It isn’t unreasonable to expect the Welsh government to pay the going rate for medical treatment in England, especially when in some cases they are entitled to medication in English hospitals that English patients aren’t allowed simply because they are Welsh. Who says the world had seen the end of apartheid when white rule ended in South Africa?

The differences in medical treatment are a result of the botched devolution settlement introduced by Labour in 1997 which gave Scotland and Wales their own governments to handle domestic affairs but left the same English affairs in the hands of British MPs representing all four home nations.

Mr Taylor said that it would be much easier for the Trust if the “English Parliament” made Wales pay the going rate and said “this can only be resolved through the financial allocations between the Government of England and the devolved Welsh Assembly”. The fact that Mr Taylor believes there is an “English Parliament” or a “Government in England” to represent English interests when England hasn’t had a government for over 300 years shows a disturbing lack of understanding of the reason why his hospitals are losing so much money every year. Like most of us in England, Mr Taylor and the Shropshire & Telford NHS Trust would be benefit enormously from the creation of an English Parliament to represent the interests of English people like the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly do for Scottish and Welsh people.

Stuart Parr
Shropshire Branch
Campaign for an English Parliament

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