HC Deb 09 June 2004 vol 422 cc445-6W
Mr. Dobson

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether under the proposed EU constitution the NHS would be subject to competition directives. [176701]

Mr. MacShane

The draft EU Constitutional Treaty will not change the way in which competition rules apply to NHS bodies. Under existing Treaty provisions, competition articles apply only to "undertakings"—persons or bodies engaged in economic activity. This means that whilst the social provision of healthcare is not an economic activity as such, competition rules can apply to NHS bodies when they are involved in "economic activity", for example, when they are contracting out healthcare provision.

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