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Cough Assist Machines

Volume 607: debated on Tuesday 22 March 2016

14. What steps he is taking to ensure that people with muscle-wasting conditions who require a cough assist machine have access to such a machine, commissioned in the community by their clinical commissioning group. (904263)

NHS England is working with Muscular Dystrophy UK through the Bridging the Gap project, and looking at issues such as the provision of cough assist machines, which are a local matter for clinical commissioning groups. A number of CCGs now have commissioning policies for these devices, based on a policy developed by Walsall CCG and shared nationally as an example of good practice by Muscular Dystrophy UK.

Twenty-one-year-old Freddie Kemp, who had muscular dystrophy, sadly died of cardiac and respiratory complications. He had been refused a machine by his CCG. The Minister said that he was working with Muscular Dystrophy UK. Will he meet representatives of that organisation to discuss what can be done to persuade CCGs to prioritise the provision of these important machines?

I thank the hon. Lady for bringing the matter to the House’s attention. Of course I will meet any groups who are concerned with it. I understand that the clinical evidence is divided in respect of the efficacy of cough assist machines as opposed to manual massage, but Walsall CCG has sought to resolve that—successfully, I understand—and other CCGs might wish to adopt its template. However, I will of course discuss with the hon. Lady personally the issues that she has raised.