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Huntington's Chorea

Volume 931: debated on Tuesday 3 May 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the number of sufferers from Huntington's chorea in the United Kingdom; what steps are taken to warn sons of sufferers; and if he will introduce machinery whereby home helps are automatically allocated to identified and non-hospitalised cases.

No official figures are available for the number of sufferers from Huntington's chorea in the United Kingdom, and estimates vary widely, most being within the 3,000 to 6,000 range. Since Huntington's chorea can be passed on to children of either sex it is important to warn all children of sufferers, as well as other blood relatives, wherever possible. Counselling is available at genetic advisory centres over the country, and family doctors and others concerned with patients can also play an important part in counselling and alerting relatives, with the patient's knowledge and agreement. It is for local authority social services departments to decide priorities and allocate home helps according to need and availability, and it would not necessarily be appropriate to allocate a home help to every Huntington's chorea patient who is not in hospital.