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Myelodysplastic Syndromes: Health Services

Volume 498: debated on Monday 26 October 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent representations he has received from (a) hon. Members, (b) Members of the House of Lords, (c) patient groups and (d) clinicians on treatment and care for people diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS); what his policy on such care and treatment is; and if he will make a statement. (295038)

Since the beginning of the 2008-09 parliamentary year, the Department has received four parliamentary questions and at least 25 items of correspondence relating to myelodysplastic syndromes. Of these, 15 were from hon. Members, one from a Member of the House of Lords and nine from members of the public.

The 2003 “Improving Outcomes in Haematological Cancers” guidance from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) sets out recommendations about the care and treatment of patients with myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), with the emphasis on symptom control and supportive treatment.

It is for the national health service locally to implement this guidance. Good progress has been made and the National Cancer Action Team continue to work with the NHS at a local level to ensure full implementation.

NICE is currently appraising azacitidine for the treatment of MDS, and currently expects to publish final guidance on this drug in May 2010.