§ Mr. Burstow
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what powers NHS trust hospitals have to refuse non-emergency treatment; and what checks are operated to ensure that such powers are exercised reasonably. 
§ Mr. Milburn
We will continue to give priority to meeting emergency needs. We look to the National Health Service to plan carefully to meet this duty while minimising the need to cancel non-emergency work.
Under the current arrangements it is for health authorities and general practitioner fundholders, taking into account local needs, to agree what care should be provided and to set and monitor contracts with NHS trusts. Where changes are proposed, for example to respond to changing local circumstances, these should be discussed and agreed between the parties. Decisions on the admission of individual patients are for the clinicians concerned.