W needed a hip replacement and the NHS didn’t give her one for a year, so she went to France and got the treatment after her condition deteriorated. She asked the NHS to reimburse her costs, but it refused on the grounds that she had failed to obtain prior authorisation. ECJ held that the rule on prior authorisation infringed the article 49 freedom to provide services and that the NHS would have to compensate an individual who went overseas after a medically unacceptable delay.
ECJ: W paid for the services she received and the fact that she sought reimbursement does not mean that it ceases to become a service or that article 49 no longer applies.
Free movement and fundamental rights: how we seek to reconcile differently
motivated fundamental – but not absolute – rights.