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Trust accused of “Berlin Wall” strategy


24 April, 2008  

An English NHS trust denied it has stopped treating patients from across the border after being accused of putting up the equivalent of the “Berlin Wall”.

Staff at North Bristol NHS Trust, which runs Southmead and Frenchay hospitals, have been instructed not to book Welsh patients for appointments unless prior funding has been secured.

All new and follow-up appointments, including listing patients for surgery, should only go ahead with funding approval from the Welsh Assembly, an internal memo said.

A spokesman for the trust insisted the measures will not prevent Welsh patients receiving treatment at the hospitals.

He said: “North Bristol NHS Trust is not refusing to treat patients from Wales.

“The Welsh Assembly requires prior funding approval for Welsh patients receiving treatment from English providers.

“Therefore, North Bristol NHS Trust needs to ensure that we have this funding approval before Welsh patients are booked with us.”

Jonathan Morgan, the Welsh Conservatives’ shadow health minister, told the Western Mail: “This is absolute madness. We do not need the English NHS putting up a Berlin Wall between England and Wales because of the attitude of Welsh ministers.”

Copyright © PA Business 2008

North Bristol NHS Trust