Vaughan Gething AM, Minister for Health and Social Services
As explained in the statement I issued on 11 April, regarding the unilateral decision taken by the Countess of Chester Hospital (CoCH) in relation to Welsh patients, engagement has continued at both Ministerial and official level with the UK Government to resolve the issue in the best interest of patients.
I can now confirm that cross-border healthcare arrangements for 2019/20 have been agreed. My expectation is that the CoCH will honour the agreement reached and reverse the decision not to accept new elective referrals for Welsh patients. I remain disappointed with the action taken by the CoCH whilst negotiations were ongoing. This was wholly avoidable and a transparent breach of the agreed protocol on cross border healthcare.
What is evident is that changes introduced to the tariff costs in England since 2017 have created a complex set of issues in relation to cross border arrangements. Wales will now have a seat on the Tariff Advisory Group. We need to fully track policy developments in England that will potentially impact on the tariff in future to aid planning in the Welsh context.
My focus during the last month has been in resolving the issue and moving quickly to agree a solution in the best interest of patients. I am hopeful the agreement reached provides re-assurance to Welsh residents that depend on cross border healthcare arrangements.