Cough-Assist Machines

Oral Answers to Questions — Health – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 21st March 2017.

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Photo of John McNally John McNally Scottish National Party, Falkirk 12:00 am, 21st March 2017

What steps his Department is taking to ensure that clinical commissioning groups follow best practice commissioning policy on access to cough-assist machines for people with muscle-wasting conditions.

Photo of David Mowat David Mowat The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

Cough-assist machines are one of a variety of respiratory treatments that may be appropriate for sufferers of conditions such as motor neurone disease or muscular dystrophy. In the end, it is a matter of clinical judgment.

Photo of John McNally John McNally Scottish National Party, Falkirk

There are good examples of best practice cough-assist commissioning policies for muscle-wasting conditions that can be followed by health boards and CCGs. Given the hard work being done to extend the lives of those who suffer from muscular dystrophies, what support and assistance can the Department provide to Muscular Dystrophy UK to ensure that such policy is more widely adopted?

Photo of David Mowat David Mowat The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

It is not for the Government to direct clinicians regarding the efficacy of particular treatments; it is for clinicians to decide, based on guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence and others. In developing its recent motor neurone disease guidance, NICE found that the evidence base for the routine use of cough-assistance machines was weak. However, the matter is kept under review, so that may change as and if new data emerge.