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Scoliosis: Health Services

Question for Department of Health

UIN 4576, tabled on 29 June 2015

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what review his Department has conducted into the adequacy of NHS treatment options for patients with scoliosis; and if he will make a statement.

Answered on

2 July 2015

The Department has made no estimate of the total number of patients with scoliosis that have received National Health Service treatment in each of the last five years or the average time that was waited.

Scoliosis is the abnormal curvature of the spine to the sides. The condition is not considered to be a disease and patients do not always require treatment. However, it is important that those patients whose curvature is more pronounced are able to access the right treatment. For children this might mean for being fitted with back brace or cast to correct the spine. Whilst some adults may be suitable for treatment with a brace, they are more commonly managed with pain relief, exercise and lifestyle advice. Both children and adults may also be considered for spinal surgery, subject to appropriate assessment.

NHS England commissions specialised complex spinal surgery nationally. The service specification clearly defines what NHS England expects to be in place for providers to offer evidence-based, safe and effective services. It supports equity of access to a nationally consistent, high quality service for patients needing complex spinal surgery wherever they live. The specification can be found the following link:

In addition, in June 2014 the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence published guidance on the Magnetic Expansion Control System, a new intervention for children with the scoliosis., The guidance stated that this new treatment ‘should be considered for children aged 2 and over with scoliosis, who need surgery to correct their curved spine’. Full guidance can be found at that following link:

The Ministers of the Department have received no representations from specialist bodies or charities on treatment options for scoliosis on the NHS and have made no specific assessment of the efficacy of the process for booking scoliosis clinic appointments.

Answered by

Department of Health and Social Care
Named day
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