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Volume 406: debated on Monday 9 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on neurology. [118528]

There is a wide range of initiatives under way to improve services for patients with neurological conditions. These include the development of the national service framework (NSF) for long term conditions that will focus on neurological disease, as well as brain injury and spinal injury. It will aim to set general standards that will improve the quality of treatment and care for all people living with these conditions. Publication of the NSF is currently planed for 2004 with implementation starting in 2005.

The Modernisation Agency has been awarded £1.2 million funding to explore the ways in which the organisation and delivery of neurology services can be improved.

The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) is currently developing clinical guidelines for the diagnosis, management and treatment of Parkinson's disease in primary and secondary care; the diagnosis and management of epilepsy in children and adults; and the management of multiple sclerosis.

In February 2003, the Department published Improving Services for People with Epilepsy, in response to the NICE national clinical audit of epilepsy-related death (May 2002). Local health communities have been encouraged to review their epilepsy services against the audit and the epilepsy action plan and address any shortfalls as part of local planning arrangements and priorities.