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Ian Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what estimate he has made of the number of spinal cord injury patients who are being managed by people without specialist skills relating to the condition; 
(2) what assessment he has made of whether the number of beds and other resources available in spinal cord injury centres are sufficient to meet the specialist needs of all spinal cord injury patients promptly and appropriately; and how many beds there were in the designated specialist spinal cord injury centres in the latest period for which figures are available; 
(3) what mechanisms are in place for the collection of national data on spinal cord injury patients, their management and the outcomes of their care; and what steps he is taking to improve such mechanisms. 
No assessment has been made on whether the number of beds and other resources in spinal injury centres is sufficient to meet the needs of those with spinal injuries. It is the responsibility of the individual centres, and regional commissioners, to ensure that they are able to meet the anticipated needs of the regional population they serve. Information on the number of beds provided at such centres is not collected centrally.
Ian Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what mechanisms are in place to monitor the outcomes of spinal cord injury care to ensure the minimum quality standards are being achieved; 
(2) what mechanisms are in place to monitor those foundation trusts that host the specialist spinal cord injury centres to ensure that those centres provide an appropriate level of service to patients with spinal cord injury. 
Ann Keen: Spinal cord injury services are a specialised service, as defined within the National Specialised Services Definition Set. It is for specialised commissioning groups on behalf of their constituent primary care trusts to assess local needs and to contract directly with each NHS trust or NHS foundation trust for these services. Contracts should cover appropriate standards of care and include mechanisms for monitoring standards and ensuring patients that are treated appropriately.
Ian Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what mechanisms are in place for (a) the funding of specialist spinal cord injury centres, (b) decisions on how much is to be allocated to the trusts that host each specialist spinal cord injury centre and (c) the system by which each host trust is monitored in the provision of spinal injury care; 
(2) whether multidisciplinary teams of medical and paramedical specialists trained in the appropriate care
of spinal cord injury are present within the NHS other than in the specialist spinal cord injury centres established by his Department; where specialist centres are located; and whether his Department has issued guidance on the commissioning of spinal cord injury services outside these specialist spinal cord injury centres; 
(3) what procedures are in place to ensure early referral of all spinal cord injury persons to the relevant expert Spinal Cord Injury Centre service; and what recent assessment he has made of possible improvements to those procedures. 
Ann Keen: Spinal cord injury services are a specialised service, as defined within the National Specialised Services Definition Set. It is for specialised commissioning groups (SCGs) on behalf of their constituent primary care trusts to assess local needs and to contract directly with each national health service trust or foundation trust for these services. Contracts should cover appropriate standards of care and mechanisms for ensuring patients are treated appropriately. SCGs are currently working together on a development project to produce an agreed national tariff for spinal cord injury services.
Primary care trusts (PCTs) have the responsibility for ensuring they have appropriate teams of medical and paramedical staff able to deliver the services required to meet the needs of their local population. This may include staff trained in the care of those with spinal cord injuries where PCTs provide these services. Information on the provision of such local services is not collected nationally.
The National Service Framework for Long-term Conditions provides detailed guidance on the provision, and commissioning, of health and social care for those with long-term neurological conditions, including spinal injuries. Copies of this publication have already been placed in the Library.
It is the responsibility of health professionals to make an individual assessment of each patient with spinal cord injuries to determine their health and social care needs, and if required, the most appropriate time for referral to a specialist spinal injury centre.
Jim Dobbin: To ask the Secretary of State for Health with reference to the letter of January 2008 from the Association of Medical Research Charities and others to Lord Darzi, on the creation of pluripotent embryonic cell lines, what (a) cell types have been generated and (b) disorders ameliorated in animal models using stem cells from the umbilical cord matrix; and if he will make a statement. 
Dawn Primarolo: Cells of the connective tissue, blood, muscle and neurons have been generated from umbilical cord stem cells. Clinical and animal studies of umbilical cord stem cells, especially for diseases like leukaemia, show potential.