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The Minister of State, Department of Health (Mr. Ben Bradshaw): The House of Commons Welsh Affairs Select Committee published its interim report The provision of cross-border health services for Wales on 10 July 2008. We are today laying before Parliament the Command Paper (Cm 7531) setting out the Government response to the report.
We have carefully considered the Committees interim report. The Command Paper discusses the wider context of cross-border health care, including arrangements to co-ordinate service provision, the commissioning, funding and quality of services, and provides the additional information requested by the Committee.
The Government agree with the Committee that the border between England and Wales does not represent a barrier to the provision of health care. The core principles of the national health service continue to apply across the UK and an inevitable and healthy consequence of devolution has been some divergence in health policy between England and Wales.
The Government and the Welsh Assembly Government operate a protocol whereby responsibility for a patient who lives on one side of the border and is registered with a GP on the other can be determined. The protocol has been renewed annually and is currently in place until April 2009. It is supported by an annual transfer of funds from the Department of Health to the Welsh Assembly Government to cover the costs of providing secondary care for the greater number of patients who live in England but have a GP in Wales. Negotiations on the renewal of the protocol are almost complete.
The Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor (Mr. Jack Straw): The Home Secretary, the Attorney-General and I are today pleased to announce the appointment of Sara Payne MBE as Victims Champion.
listen to the views and concerns of victims and witnesses
represent the views of victims and witnesses to Ministers, Government officials and in the media
challenge criminal justice agencies to further reform their practices in relation to victims and witnesses.
The Victims Champion will be a new, time limited appointment for one year to ensure continuing focus on victims issues while Parliament considers proposals in the Coroners and Justice Bill in relation to the separate office of Victims and Witnesses Commissioner. That Bill was introduced in the House of Commons on 14 January.
After the murder of her daughter Sarah, Ms Payne started a campaign to change the way in which sex offenders were dealt with and supervised in the community.
Ms Payne has since worked closely with the Home Office on increasing the right of public access to information about known sex offenders.