§ Mr. Lilley
To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) on how many occasions since April 1999 general practitioners have exercised their legal right to refer patients to a hospital other than that selected by their primary care group(a) in England and (b) in primary care groups in Hitchen or Harpenden; 
(2) what plans he has to alter the legal right of general practitioners to refer patients to the NHS hospital of their choice; and what legislative change would be required to remove that right; 
(3) if information is collected about the number of patients asking to be referred to a hospital other than that selected by their primary care group; and if he will give the outcome of such requests; 
(4) if he proposes to inform (a) general practitioners and (b) patients of the legal right of general practitioners to refer their patients to a hospital other than those selected by their primary care group. 301W
§ Mr. Denham
Information about individual general practitioners' referral of patients to specific hospitals or the number of patients asking to be referred to a hospital, other than the one selected by the primary care group, is not collected.
Primary care groups do not alter the general practitioner's ability to refer patients for health care services that they consider appropriate and it is for the individual general practitioner to assess their patients' health needs.
We have no plans to alter any legislation that would alter general practitioners ability to refer patients for appropriate health care services. Changes could be made only by amending the terms and conditions of services of general practitioners within the National Health Service (General Medical Services) Regulations 1992.