Medical Treatments Abroad

Health written question – answered on 15th July 2008.

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Photo of Sandra Gidley Sandra Gidley Shadow Minister, Health

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many NHS patients have been sent abroad for operations in the last three months; in which countries they have been treated; what the net effect on costs to the NHS was; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Dawn Primarolo Dawn Primarolo Minister of State (Department of Health) (Public Health)

There are currently two routes that cover patients who choose to go to another European Economic Area (EEA) country for treatment: the E112 form and the Article 49 route. Information is held centrally on the former but not on the latter as the decision about reimbursement is the responsibility of the local commissioner. The Department also does not hold centrally information about patients referred to countries outside of the EEA.

Departmental data show that 275 E112 forms (used to refer national health service patients to other EEA countries) were issued between April and June 2008. The countries of treatment can be found in the following table. The Department is not able to tell what the cost saving (if any) will be for the NHS as, due to the nature of the claims process between member states, the United Kingdom may not receive the bill for the cost of this treatment for 18 months or more.

The Department recognises that in accordance with EC Regulation 1408/71 and Article 49, British citizens are entitled to go to another country for healthcare, subject to certain conditions.

Countries of treatment
Number
Belgium 6
France 65
Greece 3
Italy 6
Poland 132
Sweden 7
Switzerland 3
Austria 6
Czech Republic 7
Finland 5
Germany 16
Hungary 3
Slovakia 8
Spain 6
Netherlands 2
Total 275

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