Friday, September 18, 2009

Welsh patients pushed down waiting list at Shropshire hospital

I was told last night on very good authority that the Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt hospital in Gobowen (also known as Oswestry Opthopaedic) is bumping English patients up the waiting lists in protest at the Welsh government's refusal to pay the going rate for treatment.

The three main hospitals in Shropshire all lose money treating Welsh patients because the Welsh government doesn't pay the same amount for treatments as the British government does. More Welsh patients have to be treated to achieve the same income as they would receive if treating only English patients.

Added to this is the problem of the Welsh not paying their bills on time which resulted in at least two hospitals - Oswestry here in Shropshire and one in Bristol - threatening to refuse treatment to Welsh patients if they didn't hand over the cash.

An English patient's recent conversation with a consultant at Oswestry went something like ...
Patient: So when am I likely to get my operation?
Consultant: Probably around November unless you live in Wales
Patient: Why, what difference would it make if I lived in
Consultant: Well, with all the free prescriptions and free parking
they get and they don't pay us us enough for treatment, Welsh patients get
pushed down the waiting list

I'm not sure if this is official hospital policy or an unofficial protest by consultants but I expect it will annoy the Welsh immensely, especially given the number of letters recently in the Shropshire Star trying to defend the special treatment the Welsh are getting (including putting Welsh signs in Oswestry hospital). There is a simple solution if the Welsh do start getting shirty over being pushed down the waiting lists - they could spend some of the multi-billion pound annual subsidy they get from the English taxpayer building some of their own hospitals.

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