Monday 26th February 2024

(3 months, 3 weeks ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord Markham Portrait Lord Markham (Con)
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I thank the noble Baroness. Yes, the point about epilepsy nurses was made very clear to me just half an hour ago, and I quizzed both the national clinical director of neurology and Professor Stephen Powis on that subject this morning. I was assured that the next stage of the long-term workforce plan goes into that level of detail. I have made a commitment to the House to share some of that data, so we can make sure that it really is covered properly.

Lord Patel Portrait Lord Patel (CB)
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My Lords, as human beings we are one biological system. A disease in one system often impacts another: for instance, chronic cardiac failure often results in cognitive dysfunction and people with neurological conditions often have associated cancers. While this Question is about funding for neurological diseases—and in the last two weeks, we have had Questions about funding for cardiovascular disease, cancers and others—what the whole thing shows is that we have one system failure in the health service. The only way that might be addressed is to get some out-of-the-box thinking. Does the Minister agree?

Lord Markham Portrait Lord Markham (Con)
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I hope the noble Lord knows me well enough to know that I am always up for some out-of-the-box thinking. We are putting a lot of resources into this space. When we talk about dementia, which is captured in this, the commitment I gave last week was to bring in the expert panel, so that we can start to really understand this because early diagnosis is absolutely key. There is some out-of-the-box thinking there. Again, just now I was caught by the spinal muscular atrophy people; they were saying that if we could add that to the baby pinprick test, for instance, we could make sure that babies never suffer those symptoms later in their life, in many cases. I am absolutely up for that out-of-the-box thinking.