§ Mr. Hancock
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress has been made in improving neurology services in(a) Portsmouth and (b) South East Hampshire in the last five years; and what plans he has for the services. 
§ Ms Rosie Winterton
Since April 2002, responsibility for commissioning neurology services in Portsmouth and East Hampshire rests with Portsmouth City Primary Care Trust (PCT). During this time, the PCT1070W has been working closely with East Hampshire PCT, Fareham and Gosport PCT and Southampton University Hospitals National Health Service Trust to reduce waiting times for the service and will continue to actively work in partnership with the NHS trust to look at ways of further developing the service.
The national service framework (NSF) for long term conditions will focus on improving the standard of neurology services across England. It will also address some of the generic issues that are important to people with non-neurological disabilities; such as access to rehabilitation services, provision of good quality information, support for carers and access to community equipment, assistive technology and wheelchairs. We have appointed an external reference group and working groups to make recommendations and consider areas and issues for proposed standards. We currently plan to publish the NSF in December 2004 for implementation from 2005.