§ Mr. Laxton
To ask the Secretary of State for Health when funding for beta interferon for newly diagnosed patients with multiple sclerosis ceased in all areas. 
§ Mr. Denham
The Department issued guidance (in Executive Letter (95)97) to the National Health Service in 1995 about the prescribing of beta interferon. It recommends that health authorities should have in place arrangements for hospital specialists to initiate treatment in the light of medical evidence and local priorities. This guidance continues to apply until the National Institute for Clinical Excellence publishes its guidance on beta interferon later this year.
Funding for the treatment of newly diagnosed patients has not ceased. General allocations to health authorities will rise on average by 8.9 per cent. for 2001–02.