A Church of England Bishop told the MPs that it's "entirely unreasonable"
that some patients on either side of the Wales/England border face longer
waiting times for treatment.
Anthony Priddis, the Bishop of Hereford, said people should be treated
equally wherever they live. "I think from where we are, it is entirely
unreasonable that there should be that difference of treatment according to
where people live and waiting lists, and we would want to see a much greater
equality for people whichever side of the border they live.”
Sounds obvious at first, but suppose it had been the Bishop of Cracow comparing services along the border between Germany and Poland. Or the Bishop of Dover, comparing services at each end of the Channel Tunnel. Would it still sound so reasonable and obvious?
I do not argue for, or attempt to justify, lengthy waiting times, of course. Long waiting times are always unacceptable, whether in Radnor, Cracow or Dover. And all those charged with reducing them can study and learn from the success of others, even if there may be reasons, sometimes even good ones, why some of the approaches used in one place do not necessarily transfer to another. But to argue that there should never be differences seems a little absurd to me.
I suspect that, in reality, the good bishop simply missed out two words from what he said, namely “in Britain”. It's part of a mindset, shared by many, which hasn't really got to grips with the idea of devolved administrations setting their own, and sometimes different, priorities.