Routine commissioning is a local responsibility, which in future will be led by clinicians, who best understand patients’ needs. From April 2013, the NHS Commissioning Board will have a clear focus on commissioning services for people with rare, specialised conditions. The commissioning of those services directly through one national commissioner to a national standard should ensure better planning and co-ordination of services, which will be of benefit to patients. The scope of this commissioning, and the extent to which it will cover complex rheumatology services, is still being considered.
I thank the Minister for that reply. I am very proud to have the headquarters of the Raynaud’s and Scleroderma Association based in my constituency. It was founded 30 years ago by a remarkable lady, Anne Mawdsley. It is still run from a terraced house in Alsager, and she has raised £12 million through undertaking some remarkable feats, including, I think, swimming with dolphins. Will the Minister commend her work and assure her that scleroderma patients will be able to access the best specialist centres for diagnosis and treatment?
I pay tribute to the work my hon. Friend does and to the work the Raynaud’s and Scleroderma Association has done over many years in raising funds, raising awareness and making sure there is a greater focus on these issues. I can assure my hon. Friend that the work we have done in establishing the NHS Commissioning Board will mean that in future, for the first time, there will be one organisation that will be able to look at issues involving specialised and complex needs that require a national focus.