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  1. ITV Report

English hospital Countess of Chester says it will no longer accept Welsh patients

Countess of Chester is only a few miles over the border from Flintshire Credit: PA Images

A hospital in England has said it will no longer take in patients from Wales except for in emergencies or maternity cases.

The decision at the Countess of Chester Hospital is thought to impact thousands of people in Flintshire.

It means GPs will be unable to refer them for treatment over the border - and could have further impact on pressures at hospitals across north Wales.

In a statement, the hospital said, "We will be unable to book new routine elective care appointment for patients living in Wales."

"This situation will have no impact on patients who already have an appointment with us and it will not affect our urgent care services, including A&E. Any patient living in Wales who presents to A&E will be seen as normal."

The board's Chief Executive said the "difficult decision" was made due to "unresolved funding issues". She said it had been taken with "great reluctance".

The Chief Executive of the hospital said the decision was down to 'unresolved funding issues' Credit: PA Images

At The Countess we are mindful of our position close to the border, with many of our patients and staff coming from both England and Wales.

Unfortunately, this is a step we have had to take as a result of unresolved funding issues. However, contract negotiations are continuing.

I am grateful to the senior leadership team at Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board for continuing to work hard in partnership with us to resolve this issue.

– Susan Gilby, Chief Executive

In a statement, The Royal College of GPs said it is a situation which "fails to put patients first".

"This is a situation which fails to put patients first and we are calling on the Welsh Government together with BCUHB to work with The Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust to find a constructive solution as quickly as possible."

The Welsh Government also issued a statement saying limiting access for Welsh patients on financial grounds are "unacceptable"

"This is not a decision taken by Welsh Government. Any actions taken by English providers to limit access for Welsh patients on financial grounds are unacceptable and not in the spirit of reaching a cross-border agreement with English NHS representatives.”