HC Deb 08 November 2001 vol 374 cc367-8W
Dr. Fox

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the legislation required to enable health authorities and primary care trusts to send patients abroad for routine treatment. [12766]

Mr. Hutton

[holding answer 6 November 2001]: The recent judgments of the European Court of Justice in the joined cases Geraets-Smits/Peerbooms and Case Vanbraekel (joined Cases C-157/99 and Case 368–98 respectively) marked a development in the interpretation

Jacqui Smith

[holding answer 6 November 2001]: The gross expenditure on the Public Health Laboratory Service for each of the past five years is given in the table. These figures are in cash terms for the whole period.

of directly applicable provisions of European Community law. The cases concerned the interpretation of directly applicable Treaty provisions and these have to be applied even in the face of inconsistent domestic law.

The relevant provisions of the National Health Service Act 1977 will be amended in the interests of legal certainty. This can be done by regulations made under the European Communities Act 1972 and this is in hand. In the meantime health authorities and primary care trusts are legally able to commission services abroad.

Working with the three test-bed sites, the Department is examining the detailed practical and legal issues involved in sending patients abroad. This work may raise legal issues requiring further amendments to specific regulations.

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