Business of the House

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 11:37 am on 15th March 2007.

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Photo of John Austin John Austin Labour, Erith and Thamesmead 11:37 am, 15th March 2007

The Leader of the House will know of my enthusiastic support for the introduction of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence. I still believe that it is vital to ensuring the availability of effective treatment and value for money in the NHS. Nevertheless, he will be aware of growing disquiet both among Labour Members and throughout the House about delays in the assessment of treatments and about some recent NICE decisions. May I draw his attention to early-day motion 1138?

[That this House notes that the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has issued new draft recommendations for the treatment of osteoporosis; believes that this new draft represents some steps forward but regrets that many women aged under 70 who are at risk of breaking a bone due to osteoporosis still do not qualify for treatment; notes that the development of recommendations by NICE on the use of osteoporosis drugs is now into its fifth year, whereas recommendations for treatments usually take just one to two years; fears that as a consequence of this delay, existing mandatory recommendations are not being implemented while doctors wait for them to be reviewed; notes that there are 10.6 million women aged over 50 in the UK and that almost half of these women will break a bone during their lifetime mainly due to osteoporosis and that one in five men will suffer a fracture after the age of 50; believes that treatment at just 27 pence per day is cost-effective in preventing a broken hip which would cost the health service over £12,000 a year as well as resulting in huge personal and social care costs, and calls on NICE urgently to review its decision and allow preventative treatment to all patients at risk of fracture.]

The cost in hospital and social care of osteoporotic fractures is £1.7 billion a year, yet recent NICE guidance denies effective preventive treatment to people under 70. Will the Leader of the House make provision in Government time for a debate on the workings of NICE?