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Hospital Treatment

Volume 407: debated on Wednesday 25 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what his policy is on the treatment of NHS patients from Northern Ireland in the Republic of Ireland. [121928]

I am happy, in principle, to draw on hospital services available in the Republic of Ireland and elsewhere in the interests of patients. The health and social services already make very good use of services in Dublin, Glasgow, London, and other centres, as part of the overall services available to patients. In doing so, of course, there is the issue of how that impacts on the overall financial resources available to services here. There needs to be an appropriate balance to ensure that services which people need are accessible and readily available.