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Shropshire health group pays £4 million to Welsh provider to settle dispute

By Dominic Robertson | Shrewsbury | Health | Published:

Shropshire's Clinical Commissioning Group has paid more than £4 million to a Welsh health board to settle a row over the cost of treating English patients in Wales.

The Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB), which covers North Wales – including Wrexham's Maelor Hospital – had said that the Shropshire group owed it more than £4m for treating English-based patients crossing the border to use its services.

It came after the Welsh organisation increased the amount it charged for its services.

Shropshire CCG, which is responsible for planning and paying for health services in the county, had disputed the amount, saying it had not been given sufficient notice of the price change.

It has now emerged that the disagreement was settled last month, and that the Shropshire organisation will hand over £4.1 million to settle the bill, which covered the 2018/19 financial year.

Discussions are still taking place over the bill for this financial year.

Papers being considered by Shropshire CCG's governing board today say: "The outstanding dispute between the CCG and BCUHB has now reached resolution with a final settlement figure of £4.1m for 2018/19 being agreed by chief financial officers in August.

Discussions

"The CCG paid the outstanding balance to the provider during August.

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"The 2019/20 contract agreement is now in progress based on the English NHS Standard Contract. Discussions are underway with BCUHB to agree amendments required for the Welsh position."

The situation was explained at a previous meeting by Shropshire CCG's chief financial officer, Claire Skidmore.

Minutes of the meeting show that the scale of the bill had meant discussions were "difficult".

The minutes stated: "Mrs Skidmore explained that the Health Board, which was governed by Welsh contracting rules, had amended its pricing arrangements but had not served sufficient notice according to English contracting rules.

"There had been a difference of opinion regarding the timing of the price changes, with discussions continuing last year, which had not been resolved by the end of the financial year.

"However, recently there had been positive conversations held with the Health Board working towards avoiding an arbitration position. The CCG was looking at a quantum for the contract for 2019/20 of approximately £5m, which was considered sizeable and was why the discussions had been difficult."

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