15 January 2013
Natascha Engel (North East Derbyshire) (Lab): My 92-year-old constituent, Ron Lewin, was referred for minor oral surgery. He was eventually written to by the specialist, who said that waiting lists were very long and that assessment appointments were available in 18 weeks, but that they did offer an independent service if he wished to be seen earlier. Independent obviously means paying to jump the queue. Is that how the Government propose to cut waiting lists?
Dr Poulter: It is a decision for front-line medical professionals to outline when treatment should or should not be given. Treatment must always be given on the basis of clinical need, so I am sure the hon. Lady will be feeding that message back to local commissioners. There is an opportunity for people to appeal against decisions when they are not made on the basis of clinical need, as that is clearly not the right thing and not in the interests of patients.