Plaid Cymru AM Leanne Wood has written to Health Minister Edwina Hart after it was revealed that the NHS paid for treatment in the private sector for seven of its staff.
The Aneurin Bevan Health Board, which covers Caerphilly County Borough, revealed that it paid out £780 in 2008 involving two NHS staff and £1,600 for four cases in 2009 to be treated privately. The areas of treatment were not identified.
Cardiff and Vale University Health Board said there had been one “exceptional” case during the past three years where private sector treatment was used.
The areas of treatment were not identified.
Other health boards said they had not used private healthcare for their staff over the last few years.
Cwm Taf Health Board said: “It is not the policy of the health board, nor was it the policy of the previous Cwm Taf NHS Trust, to send staff privately to receive treatment. They are referred to the NHS in the same way as any other patient.”
South Wales Central Plaid AM Chris Franks, who originally wrote to all Welsh NHS boards to ask whether any staff had received private treatment, said: “I have written to the two health boards in question to ask for an explanation of their use of private treatment.
“I find it amazing that NHS bodies should be using the private sector for treatment of their staff, albeit a small number. But the number is not the point. What sort of message is this sending out to the public – you continue queuing, but we will use private healthcare?”
Leanne Wood, fellow South Wales Central AM, said that she had written to Health Minister Edwina Hart to draw her attention to the issue.
“I believe that guidelines should be issued to health boards – if they haven’t already –making it clear that use of private health care for the treatment of staff is not acceptable.
“I can’t understand why NHS boards or trusts have been paying for private treatment for their staff. This goes against the whole NHS concept of equality of treatment and certainly the One Wales Agreement makes it clear that Wales will move ‘purposely’ to end the internal market and eliminate the use of private sector hospitals by the NHS in Wales by 2011.”