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Treatment for Gastroparesis

Volume 594: debated on Thursday 26 March 2015

The Petition of residents of the UK,

Declares that Lauren Dobbe suffers from Gastroparesis which causes her to be sick and suffer pain 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and requires her to be tube fed which denies her a normal teenage life; further that NHS England is causing unnecessary suffering and misery to Lauren and her family by delaying the use of a proven medical intervention to treat her Gastroparesis; further that the Petitioners regret that NHS England has failed to properly assess the case for funding the fitting of a Gastric Stimulator which would act like a pacemaker helping to control symptoms and would allow Lauren to eat normally; and further that this has happened despite the recommendations of four specialists and the second opinion sought by NHS England confirming the recommendations of the specialists.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons asks the Government to urge NHS England to review the application and make funding available for the fitting of a Gastric Stimulator for Lauren Dobbe and further request that the House of Commons asks the Government to urge NHS England to recognise that a failure to provide the procedure would condemn Lauren to a life being fed by tube, ignoring her wishes as well as those of her family and the independent and expert advice of clinical specialists.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Paul Burstow, Official Report, 16 December 2014; Vol. 589, c. 1376.]


Observations from the Secretary of State for Health:

The Government recognise that gastroparesis is a chronic disorder which can have a serious impact on a person’s quality of life. There are a number of treatment options for this condition, and in some cases clinicians may consider recommending a gastro-electrical stimulation device for a particular patient.

In May 2014 the National Institute for Health and Excellence (NICE) issued updated Interventional Procedure (IP) guidance on gastro-electrical stimulation for gastroparesis. The guidance can be found at the following link:

NICE is the independent organisation responsible for providing authoritative, evidence-based guidance to the NHS on the most effective ways to prevent, diagnose and treat disease and ill-health and reduce inequalities and variation in care.

Unlike NICE’s Technology Appraisal Guidance, which assesses cost effectiveness and makes recommendations on particular treatments, IP guidance assesses the efficacy and safety of interventional procedures, with the aim of protecting patients and helping clinicians, healthcare organisations and the NHS to introduce procedures appropriately. It does not consider how much the procedures would cost the NHS, or whether the NHS should allocate funding for them.

Decisions regarding the suitability of a patient for gastro-electrical stimulation should be made by clinicians on a case by case basis, taking into the account the individual circumstances of each patient and considering the available evidence, such as NICE guidance. The NHS Constitution states that patients have the right to expect decisions on the funding of drugs and treatments

“to be made rationally following a proper consideration of the evidence.”

NHS England reviews individual funding requests (IFRs), such as the one made in this case, against criteria outlined in guidance the link below:

The Government understand that NHS England has fully explained the IFR panel’s reasons for deciding not to fund a gastro-electrical stimulator in this instance.