Frontier issues: Patient in Wales fights to be treated in England

The Times’ Laura Pitel reports 15th March 2014 on a case from Monmouth where the frontier issues are beginning to warm up and gaming is common. Patient in Wales fights to be treated in England

“A Welsh artist with a life-threatening illness has written to Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, begging him to allow her to be treated in England.

Mariana Robinson, 60, from Monmouthshire, has a rare pancreatic disease that has yet to be fully diagnosed. She urgently needs further tests, but has been on a waiting list since October.

She paid £3,000 to see a consultant at the Frenchay Hospital in Bristol who told her that she had lost 90 per cent of her pancreas and was at risk of developing type 1 diabetes. However, Ms Robinson cannot afford to pay for further private treatment.

She asked her local health board to pay for her to continue to be treated across the border, where she believes that she could be seen in five to six weeks, but it refused.

She wrote to Mr Hunt, saying: “I plead with you to please do something about this appalling situation. My health and life are in the balance and I need a full diagnosis requiring a biopsy of my pancreas before treatment can continue and before a bad situation develops into something much worse.”

The Welsh government has said the maximum wait for specific diagnostic tests should be eight weeks, but figures released this week showed that a third of patients were waiting longer.

Ms Robinson’s plight was raised by her MP, the Conservative David Davies, in the Commons this week. A spokesman for Mr Hunt said that he was considering her case.

The Labour-run Welsh government has accused the Health Secretary of taking part in a “cynical” and politically motivated campaign to damage the reputation of the health service in Wales.”

Aneurin Bevan warned about these frontier issues. In Place of Fear A Free Health Service 1952 Chapter 5 In Place of Fear. Their presence emphasises the Post Code nature of the rationing of healthcare. This is unacceptable because it brings back fear, and increases inequalities.


This entry was posted in A Personal View, Patient representatives, Post Code Lottery, Rationing, Stories in the Media on by .

About Roger Burns - retired GP

I am a retired GP and medical educator. I have supported patient participation throughout my career, and my practice, St Thomas; Surgery, has had a longstanding and active Patient Participation Group (PPG). I support the idea of Community Health Councils, although I feel they should be funded at arms length from government. I have taught GP trainees for 30 years, and been a Programme Director for GP training in Pembrokeshire 20 years. I served on the Pembrokeshire LHG and LHB for a total of 10 years. I completed an MBA in 1996, and I along with most others, never had an exit interview from any job in the NHS! I completed an MBA in 1996, and was a runner up for the Adam Smith prize for economy and efficiency in government in that year. This was owing to a suggestion (St Thomas' Mutual) that practices had incentives for saving by being allowed to buy rationed out services in the following year.

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