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Beta Interferon and Glatiramer Acetate

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) who will make the initial decision on which MS patients are included in the new cohort to receive beta interferon and glatiramer acetate drugs; [35346]

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Ms Blears: The scheme allows disease-modifying drugs for multiple sclerosis to be prescribed on the national health service to patients who meet the criteria set out by the Association of British Neurologists (ABN). Subject to assessment by a specialist neurologist to confirm that they meet these criteria, all eligible patients will be given access to beta interferon and glatiramer acetate. It has been estimated that the total number of patients in England and Wales who fall within the ABN criteria might range between 7,500 to 9,000. We have no figures for potential patient numbers in Essex.

NHS bodies are required to fund any treatment within the scheme prescribed by clinicians for eligible patients, in accordance with a statutory direction.

The responsibility for making an effective clinical judgment rests with the specialist neurologist concerned. If there is any doubt about an individual case, it is likely that another specialist neurologist will be requested to give a second opinion.

The scheme starts to operate on 6 May 2002. It is anticipated that it might take 18 months to initiate all eligible patients on the scheme. Details of the scheme are explained in Health Service Circular 2002/004 which has been widely distributed across the NHS.

Young Minds

Virginia Bottomley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to secure state funding for Young Minds following the letter to the right hon. Member for South-West Surrey from the Minister of State, the Cabinet Office. [36933]

Jacqui Smith: The Department has given financial aid to Young Minds for a number of years via the Section 64 grant scheme. In the current financial year we shall be giving Young Minds a mixture of project and core

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funding that totals £74,000. We are currently considering an application for the renewal of their core funding for the years 2002–03 to 2004–05.

We have a close working relationship with Young Minds and welcome their collaboration in the development of the child and adolescent mental health module of the children's National Service Framework.

Speech Therapy

Mr. Alan Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what assessment he has made of the likely (a) number of and (b) requirement for speech and language therapists in the NHS in each of the next five years; [36770]

Mr. Hutton: The NHS Plan commits us to 4,450 more therapists and other professional staff being trained each year by 2004 than there were in 1999.

Between 1999–2000 and 2000–01 the number of speech and language therapy training commissions increased by 101. We are working with workforce development confederations to determine the split in the remainder of commissions that make up the NHS Plan target. Recommendations on the final allocation will be made by the Workforce Numbers Advisory Board (WNAB) later in the year and will take into account supply and demand information for speech and language therapy. WNAB will also look at the need for further training commissions beyond 2004.


Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the incidence of epilepsy and the death rate for epilepsy was (a) in total, (b) for men and (c) for women

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in each health authority in England in (i) 1996 and (ii) the most recent available year; and how these rates deviate from the national average. [37038]

Jacqui Smith: The Department does not collect information specifically on the incidence of epilepsy. However, it does collect information on the number of admissions to national health service hospitals for epilepsy by health authority. The available information has been placed in the Library.

The number of epilepsy deaths at health authority level is very small and subject to considerable random fluctuation. In both 1996 and 2000 the mean number of epilepsy deaths for health authorities was eight. These figures, therefore, cannot in themselves be taken as evidence of either trends over time, or real differences between areas.

The rates are presented as standardised mortality ratios (SMRs). The ratios are the numbers of "observed" deaths in each health authority to the numbers of "expected" deaths. These "expected" deaths are the number, which would have occurred if the sex and age-specific mortality rates for England were applied in each health authority. While SMRs allow for comparison between areas because the ratios presented here are based on very small numbers, even slight differences in numbers will have a marked effect on the resulting SMRs.

Mortality Rates

Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list every ward in Tyne and Wear by local authority, setting out the latest standard mortality ratio on the basis of the European Standardised rate (a) in total, (b) for men and (c) for women and the year in which the death rate for England and Wales as a whole was at this level. [37039]

Jacqui Smith: Information is not available in the format requested. The table compares the trends in mortality from all causes for men and women in England and Wales with each local authority in Tyne and Wear from 1989 to 1999.

Trends in mortality from all causes (ICD9 001–999): Indirectly Standardised Ratios (SMR), 1989 to 1999 annually, all ages(91)

England and Wales
Newcastle upon Tyne
North Tyneside
South Tyneside
OBS 10919609841,043974925906936981952949
England and Wales
OBS 294,841286,775291,709285,868298,487284,278292,582292,564291,294288,680289,800
Newcastle upon Tyne
North Tyneside
South Tyneside
OBS 1,7431,7141,7381,7081,8091,7011,6781,7021,5801,7271,755
England and Wales
OBS 574,938562,879568,108556,448576,732550,121564,343561,452556,484551,994552,048
Newcastle upon Tyne
North Tyneside
South Tyneside

(91) Standard rates are age-specific mortality rates in 1993


SMT—Standardised Mortality Rates

OBS—Observed Deaths

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