§ Mr. Meacher
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services under what circumstances a health authority may legitimately refuse treatment for a National Health Service patient on the basis that it does not have a reciprocal arrangement with the authority within whose boundaries the patient lives.
§ Mr. Newton
The decision on whether or not to accept a patient lies with the consultant to whom he is referred, not with the health authority. However, consultants may agree with health authorities, as part of the planning process, that they will normally take patients only from a limited area, particularly in specialties where it is important for the patient that hospital, community and social services should work closely together.