Scotland and Wales Patients to be Treated in England to Ease Backlog Crisis

Health and Social Care Secretary Steve Barclay has written to the devolved administrations inviting them for talks about how all parts of the UK can work together to tackle long-term waiting lists in all parts of the UK.

The Department of Health and Social Care said there were “significant variations” in NHS waiting times between the four UK nations. Barclay even suggested Wales and Scotland had worse NHS delays than England in some areas, which both devolved administrations robustly disputed.

“In Wales, more than 73,000 people are waiting over 77 weeks for treatment, and at least 21,600 people are waiting over 78 weeks for an outpatient, day case or inpatient appointment in Scotland,” the DHSC said in a statement.

“In England, waiting times for patients over 78 weeks have been virtually eliminated.”

Mr Barclay is inviting health ministers from the devolved administrations to discuss what lessons can be learnt from the different approaches taken. In England for example, NHS patients are offered a choice of provider at GP referral – NHS or independent sector – provided that it meets NHS costs and standards. And from October we will proactively notify patients waiting over 40 weeks for treatment of their right to choose to be treated elsewhere.

In his letter, the Secretary of State writes that he would be open to requests from the devolved administrations to allow patients in Wales and Scotland who are waiting for lengthy periods to choose to be treated at providers in England, NHS or independent sector – building on the current arrangements for cross-border healthcare.

The Health Secretary’s letter can be seen here:





COTS 2024