Deep Brain Stimulation Service to be assessed by HIQA

Date of publication: 
Friday, January 27, 2012

Providing a national Deep Brain Stimulation service will be the subject of a health technology assessment by the Health Information and Quality Authority.

Requested by the HSE, the assessment will focus on developing a standard for the provision of such a service in Ireland (including staffing, equipment and other resources) and will evaluate the associated costs. It will then compare these with the current arrangements where eligible patients are referred, under the Treatment Abroad Scheme, to centres outside of Ireland for the surgery.

Deep Brain Stimulation is an effective surgical treatment for a small number of patients with Parkinson’s disease, Dystonia and other movement disorders. Evidence for its use in other conditions is continuing to emerge.

It involves the insertion into the brain of an electrode that is then connected to a battery-powered stimulator placed in the chest wall. This stimulation of the brain may offer patients control of their symptoms, such as reducing the tremors caused by Parkinson’s disease, Dystonia and other movement disorders, and improve their quality of life.

Martin Flattery, Head of HTA Research and Planning at HIQA, said: “Irish patients considered suitable for Deep Brain Stimulation surgery are usually referred by the HSE to specialist centres abroad, mainly to the UK. By estimating the resources required and their associated costs, this HTA will evaluate the feasibility of establishing a national service in Ireland”.

HIQA has convened a multidisciplinary Expert Advisory Group to oversee the process of the health technology assessment and to provide access to expert advice and information as required. The completed evaluation will be submitted to the HSE and to the Minister for Health.

The Terms of Reference of the evaluation are:
1. Describe the epidemiology and evidence of clinical effectiveness and safety of Deep Brain Stimulation for relevant indications.
2. Consider any ethical, legal or social issues relating to a national Deep Brain Stimulation service.
3. Estimate a demand for a national Deep Brain Stimulation service for relevant indications.
4. Describe the organisational issues associated with the setting up of a high quality national Deep Brain Stimulation service within the Irish health system in terms of the resources and organisational structures required.
5. Perform an economic analysis of the provision of a national Deep Brain Stimulation service compared to the current practice of providing this therapy through the Treatment Abroad Scheme and estimate the budget impact of the provision of such a service.

ENDS

Further Information: 

Sinead Whooley, Communications Manager, Health Information and Quality Authority
Tel: 01 814 7488/ 087 922 1941 Email: swhooley@hiqa.ie

Notes to the Editor: 

Dystonia is a neurological movement disorder which is characterised by involuntary muscle contractions which force certain parts of the body into abnormal, sometimes painful, movements or postures. Dystonia can affect any part of the body including the arms and legs, trunk, neck, eyelids, face, or vocal cords.

The membership of the Expert Advisory Group is as follows:

1. Dr Deirdre Mullholland (Chair), Health Information and Quality Authority

2. Mr John Caird, Children’s University Hospital, nominated by the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland

3. Dr Davida de la Harpe, Health Service Executive, nominated by the Health Service Executive

4. Mr Martin Flattery, Health Information and Quality Authority

5. Ms Carole Goggin, Clinical Nurse Specialist in movement disorders at the Dublin Neurological Institute, invited expert

6. Dr Patricia Harrington, Health Information and Quality Authority

7. Professor Dan Healy, Beaumont Hospital, nominated by the Irish Consultant Neurologists’ Association

8. Ms Maria Hickey, Dystonia Ireland, nominated by Dystonia Ireland

9. Mr Joe Lynch, Parkinson’s Association of Ireland, nominated by the Parkinson’s Association

10. Professor Tim Lynch, Mater Misericordiae University Hospital, nominated by the Health Service Executive

11. Mr Patrick Moran, Health Information and Quality Authority

12. Dr Conor Teljeur, Health Information and Quality Authority