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Medical Treatments: Finance

Volume 478: debated on Monday 23 June 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if he will take steps to require primary care trusts (PCTs) to establish formal mechanisms to receive and consider applications from patients and clinicians for treatments not usually funded by the PCT; (204526)

(2) if he will issue guidance to primary care trusts (PCTs) on exceptional case processes setting out best practice on (a) appeals, (b) liaison with patient advice and liaison services and (c) training for exceptional case committee members; if he will direct PCTs to publish data on the processing of exceptional cases; and if he will make a statement;

(3) whether he plans to issue national guidance on the obligations on primary care trusts in relation to the process of allowing applications from patients and clinicians for treatments that are not routinely funded by a primary care trust;

(4) what his policy is on whether all primary care trusts (PCTs) should use the same criteria to determine whether funding should be granted for treatments that a PCT does not usually fund;

(5) what his policy is on whether primary care trusts should have a formalised process for considering applications by patients and clinicians for treatments which are not usually funded by the primary care trust; and if he will make a statement;

(6) whether he plans to issue national guidance on the obligations on primary care trusts in relation to the processes for applications from patients and clinicians for treatments that are not routinely funded by a primary care trust;

(7) if he will (a) ensure that all primary care trusts (PCTs) publish their exceptional case process, including their appeals process, on their websites and through local Patient Advice and Liaison Services offices, (b) support PCTs in the provision of training to all members of exceptional case committees and (c) collect data on the number of exceptional cases heard, approved or declined and for which therapy in each case.

It is for primary care trusts (PCTs) to commission services on behalf of their populations and to make decisions locally on which treatments to fund, taking into account all relevant circumstances and their statutory responsibilities and the principles of administrative law set out by the courts, particularly in relation to funding policies and whether to fund treatment in exceptional circumstances. The Government expect PCTs to have in place appropriate processes for reaching decisions on applications for treatments that are not normally funded, and to ensure that information on these processes is available to patients and clinicians, but the details and operation of such processes are for local determination.