Government should make it's position clear
Letter to the Daily Telegraph - January 31st 2002
The Prime Minister has responded to public pressure by promising increased expenditure on the health service.
Not only public pressure, but also European Court judgments are likely to have an impact. The Royal National Institute for Deaf People is campaigning to grant the public access to NHS digital hearing aids. In desperation, many Britons have travelled to Denmark to buy up-to-date digital hearing aids that are not easily available on the NHS.
It is our understanding that, following the Decker and Kohll judgments at the European Court of Justice in 1998 - which gave two Luxembourgers the right to claim the costs of spectacles and false teeth from their government after receiving treatment in Germany and France - British residents buying similar medical appliances, including hearing aids, are entitled to present the bill to the British Government.
Following a separate judgment of the court last year, the Health Secretary has conceded the right of British citizens, facing unreasonable delay in receiving NHS treatment, to receive treatment in other EU countries.
We believe the Government should immediately clarify its obligations under EU law to those in need of hearing aids and other medical appliances, as well as those needing other forms of treatment.
Dr. Charles Tannock MEP (Con)
John Bowis, MEP (Con)
Theresa Villiers MEP (Con)