Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments Thirty-First Report

4 S.I. 2003/2382: defective drafting

National Health Service (Travel Expenses and Remission of Charges) Regulations 2003 (S.I. 2003/2382)

4.1 The Committee draws the special attention of both Houses to these Regulations on the ground that they are defectively drafted.

4.2 These Regulations make provision for people who are either in receipt of certain state benefits or who are on a low income to be reimbursed for travel expenses incurred in obtaining certain NHS services.

4.3 Regulation 14(1) requires a person who wishes to claim entitlement to payment or repayment of NHS foreign travel expenses to apply in writing to the health service body which arranged the services within three months of the expenses having been incurred or such further period as that body may for good cause allow. Regulation 14(2) states that paragraphs (2) and (3) of regulation 11 apply to claims made under regulation 14 as if the references to the Secretary of State in those paragraphs were references to the health service body which arranged the services.

4.4 Regulation 11(2), which applies to claims for repayment of NHS travel expenses (these are distinguished in the Regulations from NHS foreign travel expenses), requires a person who wishes to exercise his right to repayment to make a claim to the Secretary of State on a form provided for the purpose by him or approved by him. Regulation 11(3) requires such a claim to be made within three months of the date on which the payment of travel expenses was made or within such longer period as the Secretary of State may for good cause allow. Paragraph (4) of regulation 11 applies paragraphs (2) to (5) of regulation 7 to a claim under that regulation; there is in fact no regulation 7(5) but paragraphs (2) to (4) require a claimant to provide such evidence in support of his claim as may be reasonably required and, in the event of non-compliance, allow claims to be regarded as closed, and allow claims to be made in respect of persons under an incapacity.

4.5 In a memorandum printed at Appendix 4, the Department of Health acknowledges that:

4.6 the application by regulation 14(2) of regulation 11(3) merely duplicates regulation 14(1) and should not have been included;

4.7 it would have been preferable to have made provision in regulation 14(1) requiring a claim for repayment to be made on a form provided by the relevant health service body instead of applying regulation 11(2) with modifications;

4.8 the provisions of regulation 7(2) to (4) ought to have been applied with the necessary modifications to claims under regulation 14.

4.9 It undertakes to bring forward amendments to correct these errors at the earliest opportunity.

4.10 The Committee accordingly reports regulation 14 for defective drafting, acknowledged by the Department.

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