HC Deb 11 November 1999 vol 337 cc819-20W
Mr. Nicholas Winterton,

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what was the level of funding targeted by his Department on(a) the treatment of multiple sclerosis and (b) research into multiple sclerosis during 1999. [97788]

Mr. Hutton

The information is not available in the format requested. It is for health authorities and Primary Care Groups to plan and arrange the services available to people in their care. However, complex multiple sclerosis is included in the comprehensive list of specialised services in the Health Service Commissioning in the new National Health Service. This means that regional offices will need to give special consideration to commissioning services for people with complex multiple sclerosis.

The Medical Research Council (MRC)—which receives most of its income via grant-in-aid from the office of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry—funds medical research as part of the Government's funding of the science and engineering base. The MRC spent approximately £640,000 in 1998–99. The MRC also fund a considerable amount of basic underpinning research in the area such as nerve function and damage which is not included in this figure.

Mr. Nicholas Winterton

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will estimate the incidence of multiple sclerosis(a) among those aged (i) under 16 years, (ii) 16 to 60 years and (iii) over 60 years, and (b) in total, in the most recent years for which figures are available. [97789]

Mr. Hutton

The information is not available in the form requested. However, the Multiple Sclerosis Society states that multiple sclerosis is estimated to affect between 80–90,000 people in the United Kingdom.

Population New cases per year (incidence) Total number of cases (prevalence)
England (approx. 50m) 4 per 100,000 (2,000) 100 per 100,000 (50,000)
Under 16 2.5 per cent. of all new cases (50) 50
Over 60 2.5 per cent. of all new cases (50) 12,500
Over 70 Very few 3,750

These figures are derived from epidemiological research studies. These studies all give slightly different figures. The table provides current best estimates for England. NHS figures do not provide accurate estimates of the epidemiology of MS. This is because many patients are not admitted to hospital and outpatient diagnostic data is not comprehensive.

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