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To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent assessment he has made of the (a) variation and (b) quality of provision of musculoskeletal services in the NHS; and if he will make a statement.
We are aware of anecdotal evidence of variations in the quality of provision of musculoskeletal services in the national health service, alongside many examples of good practice. We intend to hold the NHS to account, through the NHS Commissioning Board, for achieving sustained improvements in the quality of life of all patients with long-term conditions, including those with musculoskeletal disease, and for helping people to recover from episodes of ill-health and injury.
There are many existing sources of guidance, including clinical guidelines and other guidance from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE). In addition we plan to ask NICE to develop quality standards for some of the major musculoskeletal conditions, so that patients and commissioners can have a clear view of the standards of care which the NHS should be aspiring to achieve.