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To ask the Secretary of State for Health
(1) what consideration he has given to the effects of differences in health care commissioning practices between England and the devolved Administrations;
(2) what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the cross-border commissioning protocol in ensuring adherence to the principle that no commissioner shall be disadvantaged by providing services to the other country's residents;
(3) what recent discussions he has had on the expiration of the cross-border commissioning protocol; and if he will make a statement.
While there are very significant areas of commonality in health provision in the home nations, there are already some divergences that reflect the differing local priorities, health being a devolved issue, and it is the responsibility of each administration to identify and address these priorities.
The Department participates in discussions with local health boards in Wales, primary care trusts and the Welsh Assembly Government to ensure that funding and commissioning issues arising from the differences in health provision regimes are understood. The cross-border commissioning protocol exists to define the commissioning and payment arrangements for patients living along the Anglo-Welsh border. It is the mechanism through which the two health Departments address the principle that neither commissioners nor patients should be disadvantaged by differences in health commissioning or provision processes between the two countries. The other key principle under the protocol is that the patient's safety and well being must be paramount at all times. No treatment must be refused or delayed due to uncertainty or ambiguity as to funding the health care provision.
The Secretary of State for Health met Ministers of the Welsh Assembly Government on
The cross-border commissioning protocol is due to expire on