Cost of patient referrals to UK

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A NUMBER of patients have been told they can be treated in the island rather than having to travel to the UK to see a consultant, MHKs heard.

John Houghton (Douglas North) had asked in the House of Keys how many patients with complicated or chronic conditions had been stopped from attending specialist clinics in Liverpool.

In his written reply, Health Minister David Anderson said that in the last 12 months, his department has written to five patients who were travelling to see a consultant in Liverpool, to advise them that their treatment could now be managed in the island.

Others have been contacted directly by their island consultants and a number of others were currently under review. Further patients will no doubt be identified in the coming months, he added.

Mr Anderson said the reason was to avoid unnecessary expense and to minimise inconvenience to patients.

He said all specialties at Noble’s Hospital were potentially affected, to varying degrees. Of the five patients, two were ophthalmology patients, two were general medicine patients and one was a dermatology patient.

The minister said the health service was purchasing 8,400 ‘episodes’ of care this year from the UK, at a cost of more than £8 million. plus the costs of travel and their accompanying escorts.

‘As with all treatment and care we offer, we must constantly review our services to ensure our resources are being used as effectively as possible.’

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