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Multiple Sclerosis

Volume 408: debated on Thursday 3 July 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health what percentage of multiple sclerosis patients receive the drugs that they request in the last year for which figures are available. [122456]

We do not hold the information requested. However, the risk-sharing scheme is making disease-modifying drugs more widely available. Consultant neurologists, in consultation with patients, have a choice of treatments within the scheme taking into account expected benefit and potential side effects. The products included in the scheme are Avonex, Betaferon, Copaxone and Rebif.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the availability of hydrotherapy treatment for MS sufferers; and if he will make a statement. [122800]

Hydrotherapy is a form of physiotherapy conducted in a heated pool. Supervised by state-registered physiotherapists with specific training in hydrotherapy, patients undertake specifically designed exercises that can help to strengthen muscles, mobilise joints, relieve pain and promote relaxation.We do not hold information centrally on the availability of these therapies. It is the role of strategic health authorities, in partnership with primary care trusts, to decide what services to provide for their populations, including those with multiple sclerosis. They are best placed to understand local health needs and commission services to meet them.