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Specialist Treatment

Volume 124: debated on Monday 7 December 1987

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To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services what steps he proposes to take to ensure that patients received by National Health Service hospitals obtain the necessary specialist treatment in the nearest hospital compatible with patient safety.

I do not think this is a matter in which central direction would be helpful. Patients admitted for a planned course of treatment or an operation will usually have been referred to a hospital near their homes, although a more distant referral may be arranged if this would reduce waiting time. Where the patient is found to require specialist treatment which is provided in only a limited number of hospitals he or she may have to be sent further from home, normally to the nearest hospital which is able to provide the treatment at that particular time.