Woman Who Beat Waiting List Wins Medical Expenses Payment Case
An elderly woman who was told she would have to wait three or four months for treatment for severe osteoarthritis and who decided as a result to seek treatment in France is poised to win compensation for the cost of her treatment.
74 year-old grandmother Yvonne Watts was suffering from such severe hip pain that she spent £4,000 to go to France for treatment. Bedford Primary Care Trust refused to approve the expenditure. Having initially been told she would have to wait a year for treatment in this country, Ms Watts saw a consultant in France who told her that her need for an operation was urgent. Returning to the UK, she saw another consultant who recommended that her surgery be moved up the waiting list, but she still faced a considerable delay. Accordingly, Ms Watts decided to have the treatment in France.
The Government’s claim that the EU rules which apply to the free movement of goods and services do not apply to medical services was rejected by the EU’s Advocate General, who concluded, “The absence of a clearly defined procedure within the NHS for considering applications for treatment outside the system…constitutes a restriction of … freedom to receive services.”
If the European Court affirms the judgment of the Advocate General, Ms Watts’s costs will be refundable.
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