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Nhs Treatment Abroad

Volume 405: debated on Wednesday 14 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many patients he estimates are eligible to have treatment in another EU country paid for by the NHS owing to an undue delay in treatment in England, with reference to the European Court of Justice ruling on treatment of patients abroad. [109976]

No estimate has been made of the number of patients who may wish to seek authorisation for treatment abroad under the El 12 referral arrangements.Nationals of the European economic area resident in this country are eligible to apply for referral to another European Union country using the E112 referral scheme. Whether authorisation is granted will depend on certain conditions being met. One of these is that the treatment in question cannot be given to the patient "within the time normally necessary for obtaining the treatment in question in the member state of residence, taking account of his current state of health and the probable course of the disease".It is not possible to estimate at any given point in time how many patients this might apply to. In 2002, 1,120 E112 forms were issued in respect of residents of England, Scotland and Wales.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what discussions he has had with his counterparts in the Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly and the Northern Ireland Office concerning the right of patients to have treatment in another EU country paid for by the NHS owing to an undue delay in treatment in the UK, referred to in the European Court of Justice ruling on treatment of patients abroad. [109978]

Following the European Court of Justice judgment in Case-C157/99 Geraets-Smits/Peerbooms, the Department reviewed the operation of the arrangements in place in the United Kingdom for referral of patients elsewhere in the European Economic Area under Regulation (EEC) 1408/71. The devolved administrations were consulted.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what efforts he has made to inform patients of their right to have treatment in another EU country paid for by the NHS if subject to undue delay in this country as stated in the European Court of Justice ruling on treatment of patients abroad; [109882](2) what efforts he has made to inform patients of their right to have treatment in another EU country paid for by the NHS if subject to undue delay in England, as referred to in the European Court of Justice ruling on treatment of patients abroad. [109977]

The Department publishes the patient referral arrangements in Regulation (EEC) 1408/71 through "Health Advice for Travellers", which is widely available in post offices. Information is also available on CEEFAX, PRESTEL and the internet.Revised guidance to the public to take account of recent rulings in the European Court of Justice on treatment of patients abroad is being finalised and will be published in the next edition of the leaflet.Guidance to the national health service on directly commissioning treatment in other European economic area countries is also available on the Department's website.