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Volume 497: debated on Wednesday 14 October 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what assessment he has made of levels of variability across the country in levels of access for patients to (a) osteopathy and (b) other manual therapies; (289641)

(2) what procedures have been put in place to ensure primary care trusts are informed of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence guidelines on low back pain of June 2009, with particular reference to the recommendation that GPs consider referral of patients to a course of manual therapy such as osteopathy.

Decisions on which treatments to provide in the best interests of patients are the responsibility of the national health service at local level taking into account the differing health needs of different communities.

To aid implementation of National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidance such as that on lower back pain, NICE also develop tools, available on their website alongside the guidance, which offer advice on costings and commissioning. The guidance and tools can be accessed at