§ Mrs. Dunwoody
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what external legal advice he has sought on the responsibility for care of NHS patients transferred to the private health sector. 
§ Ms Stuart
I can conform that my officials are not aware of any instance in which the Department has sought external legal advice on this matter.
Where National Health Service bodies make arrangements with private sector health care providers for the treatment of NHS patients by those providers, the patients are not transferred to the private health sector. The patient may receive treatment in a private hospital, but the patient remains an NHS patient. They remain the responsibility of the NHS and have the NHS complaints system available to them. The NHS simply uses available private sector facilities. The treatment will continue to be NHS treatment and free to the patient. This will remain the case where the NHS makes arrangements with the private sector in accordance with the recently concluded Concordat between the Department and the Independent Healthcare Association.