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Last Updated: Thursday, 31 August 2006, 17:19 GMT 18:19 UK
1m hospital funding row settled
Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital
The hospital is a specialist unit treating people from around the UK
A dispute over how much a Welsh health board should have paid an English hospital for treatment last year has been settled through arbitration.

Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital (RJAH) in Shropshire had charged Powys Local Health Board (LHB) 1.1m for the last financial year.

But an arbitration board has ruled that the LHB should pay just 301,451 - less than half what it originally offered.

The RJAH said it respected the outcome, which was "final and binding."

The LHB is yet to sign a contract with the hospital for the 2006-2007.

Conservative Mid and West Wales AM Glyn Davies said arbitration had "no bearing" on this financial year and said patients potentially still faced problems.

The hospital is based at Gobowen, near Oswestry, only a few miles over the border in Shropshire.

About 40% of its patients - thought to run into the thousands - are from Powys and north Wales.

In July, it said it had treated more patients from Powys than it had been paid for.

'Vindicated'

But the LHB's chief executive Andy Williams said the board had been "vindicated" by the arbitration process.

"Had we acceded to Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt's demands we would effectively have been overcharged by 800,000, this money having to be taken out of other aspects of the care of people in Powys," he said.

Mr Williams added that RJAH had refused a settlement of 644,000 over two years prior to arbitration.

Jackie Daniel, chief executive of RJAH, said the hospital's trust acknowledged the decision was "final and binding".

"The decision, although not what we anticipated, does allow us to move on and focus on this year's contract which must be agreed by 22 September," she said.

The arbitration board was formed from West Midlands Strategic Health Authority and the Mid and West Wales Regional Office.

Montgomeryshire's Liberal Democrat AM Mick Bates said he would be meeting the health board on Friday to discuss how to move on.

"I'm pleased and relieved for all Powys patients that this dispute has been settled," he added.


SEE ALSO
Border hospital care 'in turmoil'
10 Aug 06 |  Mid Wales
Dispute forces changes to surgery
18 Jul 06 |  Mid Wales
Hospital warns on Welsh patients
15 Jul 06 |  Mid Wales
Hospital's cash plans are delayed
10 Jul 06 |  Mid Wales

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