Hypertension: Health Services

Health written question – answered on 1st April 2008.

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Photo of Nicholas Winterton Nicholas Winterton Conservative, Macclesfield

To ask the Secretary of State for Health

(1) what steps he is taking to improve patient services for the treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension; and what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of care and treatment available to end stage patients;

(2) what assessment he has made of the efficacy of treatment pathways for pulmonary arterial hypertension;

(3) what specialist centres for the treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension there are; what plans he has to increase the number of such centres; and whether the role of such specialist centres will be continued;

(4) what assessment he has made of the treatment provided for pulmonary arterial hypertension patients in England against UK and international benchmarks;

(5) what assessment he has made of the impact of (a) the changing structure of NHS processes and (b) recent National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence recommendations on the commissioning of pulmonary arterial hypertension services.

Photo of Ann Keen Ann Keen Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Health Services), Department of Health

There are six centres for the treatment of adults with pulmonary hypertension in England. These are at Newcastle, Sheffield, Papworth, Hammersmith, Royal Free and the Brompton hospitals. Several of these centres run outreach clinics at other hospitals.

From April 2008, pulmonary hypertension services for adults will be commissioned by specialised commissioning groups on behalf of their constituent primary care trusts. The National Specialised Commissioning Group retains a national overview of these commissioning arrangements and considers the appropriate standards, which local centres should achieve, taking National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence guidance into account.

For the care and treatment of children with pulmonary hypertension, a United Kingdom national network is organised on a 'hub and spoke' principle. The hub is Great Ormond Street hospital for Children and the spokes for follow up care are six centres of paediatric cardiology at Leeds General Infirmary, Bristol Children's hospital, Freeman hospital in Newcastle, Birmingham Children's hospital, Yorkhill hospital in Glasgow and the Royal Hospital for Children in Belfast.

Pulmonary hypertension services for children are nationally commissioned and performance managed by the National Commissioning Group on behalf on the national health service.

There are no current plans to change the arrangements for these specialist centres.

In addition, the national pulmonary hypertension centres of the UK and Ireland have published "A Consensus Statement on the Management of Pulmonary Hypertension in Clinical Practice in the UK and Ireland in March 2008". This is available at:

www.brit-thoracic.org.uk/ClinicalInformation/PulmonaryHypertension/NationalPulmonaryHypertensionServices/tabid/205/Default.aspx

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