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Patient Treatment

Volume 130: debated on Monday 28 March 1988

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To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) what is his policy towards National Health Service patients from areas of the United Kingdom where waiting lists are above the national average being offered treatment in Northern Ireland;(2) whether any National Health Service districts in Northern Ireland are making available their excess capacity to National Health Service districts in other parts of the National Health Service; and if he will make a statement.

The services provided by the health and personal social services in Northern Ireland are available to all residents of the United Kingdom. However, for reasons of geography it is unlikely to be practical or cost-effective to reduce waiting lists by transporting patients from the mainland for treatment. In addition, the planned rationalisation of acute services in Northern Ireland means that there will be little scope to absorb any significant additional work load from outside the Province.