NHS must reimburse patients treated abroad because of delays at homeBMJ 2006; 332 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.332.7551.1175-b (Published 18 May 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;332:1175
- Clare Dyer, legal correspondent
The NHS must reimburse UK patients who travel to another European Union member state for treatment when they face “undue delay” at home, the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg ruled this week.
The ruling came in a case brought by Yvonne Watts, aged 75, who had a £4000 €5900; $7500) hip operation in France, but she was told that Bedford Primary Care Trust would not pay for it.
The judgment will have significant implications for the NHS, although waiting times have come down substantially since Mrs Watts opted to have her operation in France. The Department of Health said that the wait for a hip operation was now down to six months.
A spokesman said that the government would be issuing updated guidance to the NHS shortly, adding, “We do not expect this judgment …