THE NHS in Wales should take full advantage of its strong bargaining position when it comes to purchasing cross-border health services for Welsh patients from some English Hospitals, according to an Assembly member.

Wrexham AM Lesley Griffiths was urged Welsh Health Minister Edwina Hart to take advantage of a change in status by some hospitals in England.

Several specialist hospitals, which currently treat Welsh patients, are aiming to become foundation trusts in the coming years.

Mrs Griffiths said the financial guarantees required for them to achieve this status should be immediately exploited by Wales when it comes to negotiating service contracts.

A foundation trust is part of the NHS in England but one which has gained a degree of managerial and financial freedom from the Department of Health in London.

She said: “One interesting aspect for those candidate trusts is their need to have an absolute guarantee of five years’ income for them to be successful in their applications.

"I want to see the Welsh Government take full advantage of this window of opportunity over cross-border health services.”