Meg Munn – 2014 Parliamentary Question to the Department of Health

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Meg Munn on 2015-01-14.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, if he will introduce a fast track service for continous positive airways pressure therapy for people who drive for a living.

Jane Ellison

Local clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) are responsible for assessing the needs of their local populations and for commissioning services to meet those needs. For patients with obstructive sleep apnoea, NHS England expects CCGs to take into account the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines when deciding what services should be made available.

NICE has published technology appraisal guidance which recommends the use of continuous positive airway pressure as a treatment option for adults with moderate or severe symptomatic obstructive sleep apnoea/hypopnoea syndrome, where certain criteria are met.

NICE has been commissioned to develop a quality standard on sleep disordered breathing and will in due course consider which conditions will be covered under the scope of the quality standard and the need for associated clinical guidance.

There are currently no special provisions for people with sleep apnoea who drive for a living, but this will be considered as part of the guideline.

Individuals diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnoea and who are waiting for continuous positive airways pressure therapy are prioritised according to clinical need.

We do not collect information centrally on the time people wait between diagnosis and treatment for obstructive sleep apnoea. The Referral to Treatment operational standards state that 90% admitted and 95% of non-admitted patients should start consultant-led treatment within 18 weeks of referral. In order to sustain delivery of these standards, 92% of patients who have not yet started treatment should have been waiting no more than 18 weeks. Whilst individual National Health Service organisations are monitored on their performance in this area, obstructive sleep apnoea is not separately identified.