§ Mr. Mark Field
To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much of his Department's budget for the current financial year has been earmarked for NHS operations to be carried out overseas. 
§ Mr. Milburn
None; we are devolving control over resources to local health services. In the light of rulings of the European Court of Justice in July this year, I have made it clear to health authorities and primary care trusts that they are now able to commission services from other European countries as part of their wider efforts to reduce waiting times for national health service treatment. However, NHS bodies will need to apply the same criteria to purchasing treatment abroad as they do to purchasing treatment in the NHS or United Kingdom-based independent sector, including value for money.