§ Mr. Luff
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to his oral statement of 6 December 2001 on waiting lists, if individuals in Worcestershire who have removed themselves from NHS waiting lists and paid to have major heart surgery performed will be able to seek reimbursement for their local health authority or elsewhere; and if he will make a statement. 419W
§ Yvette Cooper
On 6 December 2001, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State announced a patient choice package. From July 2002, if a patient with coronary heart disease has been on an in-patient waiting list for over six months, they will be able to seek swifter treatment in either the private sector, in another European Union country or in a different national health service hospital.
This patient choice package is not, however, retrospective and patients who have previously chosen to elect for private treatment, cannot be reimbursed by the NHS under any circumstances.
The decision to treat NHS patients in private facilities will be made locally. Those local decisions should be made on the basis of proper involvement in the planning process. Services bought from the private sector will be paid for by the NHS body commissioning the work (usually the primary care group/primary care trust) and the patient will receive free NHS service in the private sector organisation
Any decision to use private sector providers will be made on the basis of value for money, clinical need and all appropriate clinical standards must be maintained.
§ Mr. Randall
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the number of patients that have hospital appointments postponed as a result of being away from home when contacted by hospitals. 
§ Mr. Hutton
Data are not collected centrally on the numbers of patients whose operations have been postponed as a result of being away from home when contacted by hospitals.