The Effect of Mrs Watts' Trip to France on the National Health Service

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In Watts the Court of Justice has summarised its case law on free movement of services and healthcare, and applied it to the NHS. It establishes unsurprisingly that patients who cannot be treated without undue delay have a right to reimbursement for treatment abroad. Two elements are important. One, undue delay is decided by reference to objective (international) medical standards, rather than national norms. Two, health authorities must make decisions concerning reimbursement in a transparent way, and procedures for challenge must be accessible and objective. This requires eg the publication of tariffs for reimbursement and guidelines on what is undue delay. Legal disputes over the calculation of these are likely to be numerous, and add to pressure for restructuring of the NHS.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2007

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  • Until 2007 the King's Law Journal was known as the King's College Law Journal. It was established in 1990 as a legal periodical publishing scholarly and authoritative Articles, Notes and Reports on legal issues of current importance to both academic research and legal practice. It has a national and international readership, and publishes refereed contributions from authors across the United Kingdom, from continental Europe and further afield (particularly Commonwealth countries and USA). The journal includes a Reviews section containing critical notices of recently published books.
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