If a hospital consultant considers that it is clinically essential for a patient to practise nebulisation at home, the health authority may supply the equipment. We consider that this is the most efficient and cost-effective way of providing nebulisers and their driving mechanism on the NHS.
Is it not a sorry state of affairs that there are people who are coughing their lungs up, people who have had asthma all their lives, and cannot get a nebuliser? A 22-year old girl in my constituency of Pinxston pleaded for a nebuliser to be provided under the scheme to which the Minister has just referred, but was refused. The people of Pinxston got together and collected the money to try to save her life, only to see that young girl die within a few months. That is the real story about nebulisers, not all that guff that the Minister has just trotted out. The truth is that he ought to be giving directions to all health authorities to provide nebulisers to save the lives of young men and women and miners who are riddled with emphysema and coughing their lungs up.
The hon. Member well knows the other story about nebulisers, which is that of Mr. Gibson, his constituent. We are making sure that if a consultant says that he needs a nebuliser, he will get it on the Health Service. The hon. Member therefore immediately turns to another story, that of a girl in Pinxston. That is why the hon. Member asked his question, because he has not put it to me before. We are sorting out all the cases in north Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire that have been put to us and, if a consultant agrees that a patient needs a home nebuliser, of course we shall ensure that the health authority provides it. We can sort out the problems if the hon. Member will put the cases to us in a proper way and not seek to exploit them for his own purpose.