The Department of Health has commissioned three separate reviews on the diagnosis, treatment and transmission of Lyme disease. The work will be carried out by the epicentre of University College and be clinically driven and evidence-based, and it will be published in late 2017.
Although I am delighted that the Government are looking into this serious and important disease, as the reviews progress thousands of people contract Lyme disease each year, particularly in areas such as Wiltshire, and they can receive inadequate treatment, so will the Minister look into speeding up these reviews?
It is fair challenge that this work is high priority, and we need to go as fast as possible, but we are working with research teams. The work will be trial-based and needs to be as definitive as possible. In the meantime, early diagnosis is the key way to make progress. Public Health England continues to work with GPs and the public on it.
My mother recently died of motor neurone disease. In some areas of my constituency, there are 13 sufferers per 10,000 people, whereas the UK average is two per 100,000. Will the Minister please agree to meet me and representatives of the Motor Neurone Disease Association to discuss how the UK Government could lend their weight to combating this awful and debilitating disease?
Yes, I would be happy to meet the hon. Gentleman to discuss that subject.
I am extremely grateful to the Minister for his response on that matter.
Bearing in mind that cases of Lyme disease have quadrupled in the past 12 years, and that some of those cases have been in my constituency of Strangford in Northern Ireland, what has been done with the devolved Assemblies in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to ensure that a UK-wide strategy is put in place to address this trend and to provide effective diagnosis and treatment?
The principal thing that we need to do with Lyme disease is to make progress on diagnosis, treatment and transmission through a definitive approach. When the results of the study that I mentioned are published, of course they will be available across all parts of the United Kingdom.