Spinal surgery for unborn babies is to become routinely available on the NHS next spring, it has been announced.The life-changing procedure, performed while the baby is still in the womb, will help babies with spina bifida, whose spine and spinal cord are not properly developing, NHS England said.Surgery to repair the spinal tissue can reduce the likelihood of bladder, bowel and kidney conditions later in life, and improve walking, professionals say.It is one of several treatments which will become routinely offered on the NHS for the first time from April 2019.The surgery was carried out for the first time in Britain in the summer. The spina bifida surgeries were successfully performed by a team at London’s University College Hospital this summer. More than 300 people with tuberous sclerosis complex, mostly children, will benefit from the new drug everolimus.This reduces the number and severity of epileptic seizures as a result of the genetic condition, which causes tumours to develop in the body and brain.And a tablet to widen blood vessels will help those with pulmonary arterial hypertension, which causes high blood pressure, avoid damage to the heart.Professor Stephen Powis, medical director for NHS England, said the NHS was a world leader in innovation.He said: “NHS England is determined to ensure every penny is wisely spent, maximising the money available for life-saving, life-changing medicines and procedures like these.”Kate Steele, chief executive of charity Shine, said the announcement was “very good news” for babies with spina bifida.She said: “Pre-natal surgery has been practised for several years in other countries, but now that the surgery is set to be procured in the UK will mean that far fewer parents-to-be will have to travel abroad and stay far from home for the surgery.”They will be closer to the important family and medical support networks they will need before, during and after surgery.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.
There are many interesting projects in Mongolia. not least Oyu Tolgoi, which John Chadwick reports on in the April issue of International Mining. Not surprisingly mining suppliers newly locating to the country are moving in in significant numbers. Gemcom Software International, that claims to be “the largest global supplier of mining software solutions,” will open an office in Ulaanbaatar, on February 23, 2011. Gemcom’s software, including Surpac, GEMS, Minex, Whittle, InSite and MineSched, is already widely used by exploration and mining operations throughout the country. “Gemcom’s software has been playing a key role in the Mongolian mining industry since 1995 when Minex was purchased by Baganuur Joint Stock Co,” said Andrew Pyne, Senior Vice President, Gemcom AustralAsia. “Since then, we have established long-standing professional relationships with the Mongolian Government and many key mining entities such as Erdenes MGL and Centerra’s Boroo gold mine. The office gives us the opportunity to work even closer with our clients to help explore the full commercial potential of their operations.”“We are very satisfied with Gemcom’s products and services, and have no doubt that our use of Surpac, Minex, and Whittle has played a critical role in the success of our operations,” said Naranbaatar Lundeg, managing director, Glogex LLC. “With the opening of the Ulaanbaatar office, we look forward to working even more closely with Gemcom’s software experts and mining professionals and the global industry experience the company brings to the local level.”Mongolia has seen a significant boost in mining investments due to the increase in commodity prices and the Mongolian Government’s commitment to develop the country’s mining industry. As of November 2010, mining had already fuelled over 60% of foreign direct investment for Mongolia – a country rich in copper, gold, coal, molybdenum, fluorspar, uranium, tin, and tungsten deposits.“Mongolia is recognised as one of the world’s strongest emerging economies today, and Gemcom is committed to contributing to its continued growth and success through an enhanced local presence,” comments Simon Waghorn, Executive Director, Gemcom Mongolia. “Our Mongolian team of mining professionals has been recruited to support the local industry to help clients drive additional value from their businesses by giving them the tools and capabilities needed to improve site productivity and profits.”To further support the growth of Mongolia’s mining industry, Gemcom has launched a Student Sponsorship Program to help develop the region’s future mining professionals. The first-ever Gemcom sponsorship program recipient will be announced at the office opening and will receive a cash bursary towards their continuing education, and will have a paid summer internship at the Gemcom Ulaanbaatar office to gain valuable industry experience.