Page last updated at 17:44 GMT, Monday, 5 November 2012

Muscular Dystrophy part one

Northern Ireland is falling behind the rest of the UK in terms of services offered to sufferers, families and carers of muscular dystrophy, the health committee chairwoman said, on 5 November 2012.

Sue Ramsey was speaking on the committee's motion which called for the development of specialised neuromuscular services in Northern Ireland.

It followed the publication of the McCollum Report which investigated neuromuscular care in Northern Ireland.

The SDLP's Mark Durkan explained that muscular dystrophy was a genetic condition which became life-threatening when it weakened the muscles around the heart.

Kieran McCarthy of the Alliance Party also emphasised how services in Northern Ireland "lag far behind" the rest of the UK.

The DUP's Gordon Dunne said muscular dystrophy affected around 2,000 people in Northern Ireland and said there was a need to improve services including ensuring sufferers were offered adequate wheelchair provision.

Ulster Unionist Robin Swann explained that that the McCollum report focused on six different types of muscular dystrophy.

He said Duchenne muscular dystrophy, which is the most common and most serious, often meant sufferers had their life-expectancy reduced to 25-30 years old.

The second part of the debate can be viewed here.

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