The Welsh Affairs Committee has announced a short inquiry into Cross-border health arrangements between England and Wales, to follow-up its previous 2009 report on this matter.
Since the Committee last examined this issue, there has been increasing divergence between the healthcare systems of England and Wales, which has implications for patients in border areas who rely on healthcare facilities on the other side of the border.
In April 2013 the NHS Wales and NHS Commissioning Board England agreed a Protocol for Cross-border Healthcare Services to ensure smooth and efficient interaction between the NHS on either side of the England-Wales border, but it is not clear how well this has been functioning to date.
The Silk Commission has also made recommendations to improve cross-border health delivery, and the Government is preparing its response.
The Committee is inviting written evidence on some, or all, of the following issues:
- The impact of the increasing policy divergence in the health systems of England and Wales on cross-border healthcare services, and on medical practitioners and patients in border regions in England and Wales;
- The experience of patients in England and Wales who are reliant on the use of healthcare services on the other side of the border;
- The case for greater sharing of resources and facilities between the English and Welsh healthcare systems, for example in relation to procurement and use of high-tech equipment;
- The impact of the Protocol for Cross-border Healthcare Services agreed by NHS Wales and NHS CB England, implemented in April 2013, and whether it is meeting its objectives;
- The Silk Commission Part II recommendations on cross-border health, particularly the proposal to develop individual protocols between each border Local Health Board in Wales and neighbouring NHS Trust in England;
- Any lessons that can be learned from other cross-border health arrangements, such as between England and Scotland or Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
Please note the Committee is not inviting evidence on the merits of the healthcare systems in Wales (which is a devolved matter) or England. The Committee’s inquiry will focus on the cross-border arrangements between the English and Welsh healthcare systems and the experience of patients who rely on services on the other side of the border.
The Committee asks for written submissions on this issue in accordance with the guidelines stated below. The deadline for written submissions is midday on Wednesday 20 August.
Interested parties are invited to keep to a word limit of 4,000 words and to submit written evidence via the web portal below. There is no need to address all parts of the terms of reference.