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8 Nov 2005 : Column 397W—continued


Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what funding has been allocated over the past five years (a) to raise awareness of Lupus and (b) for research into effective treatment. [24427]

Mr. Byrne: It is for primary care trusts to decide how to spend the funding allocations they are given in he light of local needs and priorities. Information on the amount spent on raising awareness of lupus is not held centrally.

The NHS Direct website contains specific information on lupus. The musculoskeletal framework, a best practice guide to supporting people with musculoskeletal conditions, will be published later this year. This will do much to raise awareness amongst health professionals and the general public for all musculoskeletal conditions, including lupus.

The main part of the Department's expenditure on health research is allocated to, and managed by,
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national health service organisations. Details of individual projects supported in the NHS, including a significant number concerned with lupus, are to be found on the national research register at The Medical Research Council, an independent body funded by the Department of Trade and Industry via the Office of Science and Technology, also funds medical research. It is not possible to identify the total amount spent on research into the treatment of lupus.

Macular Holes

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps she is taking to improve the standard of care offered to those suffering from a macular hole. [23034]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The vast majority of individuals with macular hole have their condition diagnosed by an optometrist during a routine sight test. Sight tests are free under the national health service to people aged 60 and over, children, individuals at particular risk of eye disease and those on a low income. Individuals who are identified as requiring further investigation can now be referred directly to hospital following an NHS funded sight test.

There is only one proven treatment for individuals diagnosed with macular hole and that is surgery. This is available in most large eye units that provide vitreoretinal surgery.

The Department has put a number of measures in place aimed at reducing waiting times in the NHS. By the end of 2005, no patient will have to wait more than 13 weeks for an out-patient appointment or more than six months for surgery, and most waits will be much shorter than this.

In many cases, surgery can stop the visual disturbances getting worse and can help sight to recover to a high standard. The final visual outcome, however, will depend on the size of the hole that has been treated. For those individuals whose sight is still affected after surgery, low vision aids may be of help. The NHS hospital eye service provides optical devices and loans low vision aids, such as high-powered reading lenses, hand-held and stand magnifiers and telescopes, to people with visual impairment. In addition, some primary care trusts have local arrangements for the provision of low vision aids through community based opticians.

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many finished episodes of care relating to the treatment of macular holes there have been in each year since 1997; and what the (a) mean and (b) median waiting time was in each year. [23035]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The following table shows the number of finished in-year admission episodes and the mean and median waiting times for those individuals whose primary diagnosis was degeneration of the macular and posterior pole.
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Count of finished consultant episodes, mean and median time waited in days, national health service hospitals, England 1997–98 to 2003–04

Finished in-year admission episodesMean waiting time in daysMedian waiting time in days

A finished in-year admission is the first period of in-patient care under one consultant within one healthcare provider, excluding admissions beginning before 1 April at the start of the data year. Please note that admissions do not represent the number of in-patients, as a person may have more than one admission within the year.

Mental Health

Ed Balls: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much funding has been allocated to preventative and early intervention services for children's mental health disorders in (a) Normanton constituency, (b) Wakefield East primary care trust (PCT), (c) Wakefield West PCT, (d) Wakefield district and (e) West Yorkshire in 2005–06. [24247]

Mr. Byrne: Funding is allocated directly to primary care trust (PCTs). It is for PCTs, in partnership with strategic health authorities and other local stakeholders, to determine how best to use their funds to meet national and local priorities for improving health, tackling health inequalities and modernising services.

The table shows the funding allocations made to the West Yorkshire PCTs, including Eastern Wakefield PCT and Wakefield West PCT, for 2005–06 to 2007–08.

West Yorkshire PCTs2005–062006–072007–08
Bradford City160,758195,932214,724
Bradford South and West158,353192,836210,881
East Leeds179,743212,695230,027
Eastern Wakefield208,492255,393283,337
Huddersfield Central144,457172,344186,412
Leeds North East160,333192,073207,743
Leeds North West172,126208,941228,463
Leeds West123,183145,982157,882
North Bradford98,680119,364129,248
North Kirklees178,807215,698236,133
South Huddersfield80,38297,051104,967
South Leeds163,518192,333208,252
Wakefield West156,303189,155205,849

Motor Neurone Disease

Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what her policy is on the availability of non-invasive positive pressure ventilation to motor neurone disease sufferers. [23817]

Mr. Byrne: Data on non-invasive ventilation for patients with motor neurone disease are not collected by the Department.
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A team from University College London and the University of Newcastle upon Tyne have been chosen to lead a £20 million initiative to speed up the development of new medical treatments for dementia and neurodegenerative disease. The team will co-ordinate a network of national health service staff and resources across the country to expand the number and range of clinical trials of medical treatments for neurodegenerative diseases including motor neurone disease.

The network will offer unprecedented opportunities to bring the latest clinical treatments and trials to people in the United Kingdom. The new scheme will operate in close partnership with patient organisations to ensure that we are addressing the research questions that are of most importance to patients.

MS Therapy Centres

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will make a statement on proposals for inspection charges for multiple sclerosis therapy centres. [19007]

Jane Kennedy: I am satisfied that multiple sclerosis therapy centres should continue to be subject to the Healthcare Commission's regulatory regime. The Commission is developing costed options for regulating independent healthcare providers, including multiple sclerosis therapy centres. I expect these options to reflect the risk-based approach to inspection which the Commission has been developing. The Commission intends to consult on its proposals shortly.

NHS Budgets (Oxford)

Mr. Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will visit Oxford to assess the impact of changes proposed in (a) mental healthcare and (b) other local NHS budgets. [19488]

Ms Rosie Winterton [holding answer 19 October 2005]: My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State currently has no plans to visit Oxford, as her autumn schedule is now fixed. If my right hon. Friend would like to invite the Secretary of State for a visit then a formal request should be sent to the ministerial visits Unit room 448 Richmond House, 79 Whitehall, London SW1A 2NS, for consideration.

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