Ataxia

Department of Health written question – answered on 8th September 2017.

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Photo of Anne Main Anne Main Conservative, St Albans

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what steps his Department is taking to support those diagnosed with Ataxia.

Photo of Steve Brine Steve Brine The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

Ataxia can be the result of a hereditary condition (the most common being Friedreich's ataxia), it can be acquired through brain injury or neurological disease and may also result from a condition called idiopathic late-onset cerebellar ataxia. Certain disorders can also cause ataxia in people for short periods of time.

The treatment and support patients of people living with the condition will need will depend on the type of ataxia, the severity of symptoms and level of independence and patients’ needs, which should be assessed on a case by case basis. Subject to assessment, treatment may include pharmacological treatment to reduce and manage symptoms, physiotherapy, and speech and language therapy and psychological support.

Whilst much of the treatment will be provided by local NHS commissioners, some patients may need access to specialised services, commissioned by NHS England. This may be because they have high levels of need or require a particular treatment, though in the case of ataxia telangiectasia, NHS England commissions services specifically for this condition because of its rarity and the complexity of symptoms.

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