Wales-based man says he has been forced to wait for an assessment for Asperger's syndrome in Liverpool|
DENBIGH, Wales: A row over obstacles for Wales-based patients getting treatment in England has intensified.
A patient from Denbigh believes he has not had an assessment for Asperger’s syndrome in Liverpool because an English trust has not yet been guaranteed payment for it.
Colin Hughes, 59, a retired civil servant, has been waiting four months for the go-ahead for the assessment – costing a huge £2,000 – in a unit in Liverpool’s Old Swan district. But he says his GP has had a letter from the Mersey Care NHS Trust saying it will not back the appointment until it can get a guarantee it will be paid.
Mr Hughes said: “It’s annoying. If it had been an assessment for an emergency condition, like a burn at Whiston Hospital, they would have taken the patient in and sorted out the bill later. They are putting obstacles in the way of ‘non-urgent’ people getting treatment.”
He added: “I was born in England and have paid Income Tax. They call it the NHS. But somewhere along the line, it’s changed to individual regions having their own rules and regulations.”
And he highlighted the case of former coma patient Phil Phillips, of Cemaes Bay, who backed MPs who were concerned about the lack of a protocol protecting treatment for Wales-based patients who have to go to English hospitals.
Mr Hughes said: “What has been predicted about obstacles over treatment is taking place now.”
North Wales NHS Trust, which covers Denbigh, referred calls to Denbighshire Local Health Board. Denbighshire LHB said no decision had been made yet.
Spokeswoman Sally Baxter said: “I am not aware that any decision has been made not to support funding. We are considering the requirements in this case.”
She would be happy to discuss Mr Hughes’ situation and invited him to ring Denbighshire LHB on 01745 582721.
Mersey Care NHS Trust said funding must come from Wales.
Mersey Care’s nursing director, Karen Wilson, said: “Mersey Care’s Asperger Team is funded for clients who live in Liverpool.
“Other parts of the country do not have Asperger services and so, in their quest to be flexible, the Team are available to provide diagnosis, support, training and consultation to people who live in other parts of the country, but this must be funded by their own local NHS.”
(Source: Denbighshire News, April 15, 2009)