UK Politics

Conservative Party: Labour's incompetent Irish health deal loses the NHS millions

News   •   Dec 28, 2009 10:43 GMT

Andrew Lansley has accused the Government of "incompetence" that has resulted in millions of pounds being diverted from the NHS budget.

According to the Government, 'The United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland make payments to each other to cover the cost of providing healthcare to each other's citizens, including pensioners and their dependants'.

However, figures show that the UK receives just £2,606 each year per pensioner whereas the Republic of Ireland receives £7,457, almost three times as much.

The National Audit Office has since noted that there is a dispute going on between the UK and Ireland over these payments, that the Government now believes the methodology used to calculate them has been inaccurate, but that excessive payment to Ireland have clearly been allowed to persist for many years.

Lansley, the Shadow Health Secretary, said that it was "inconceivable" that healthcare in Ireland really costs three times as much as in the UK, and he added:

"NHS funds are always precious. For the Government to carelessly enter into an arrangement like this is a betrayal of the trust we have placed in them to use those funds wisely."