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Scottish Government pressed on new treatment to tackle neurological conditions


By Val Sweeney

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Labour MSP Rhoda Grant (left) with Mary Ramsay.
Labour MSP Rhoda Grant (left) with Mary Ramsay.

THE case of Inverness woman was highlighted to MSPs as they agreed to press the Scottish Government on introducing new treatments for a range of neurological conditions.

The Scottish Parliament’s public petitions committee heard how high-powered, focused ultrasound could be used on the brain to treat conditions such as essential tremor, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease.

Although it is already used in England, it has not yet been introduced in Scotland.

In 2018, the National Specialist Services Committee was unable to endorse an application for funding which would allow a national designated service, saying more research was needed.

Highland and Islands Labour MSP Rhoda Grant today spoke at the committee, supporting Inverness campaigner Mary Ramsay who has essential tremor which causes involuntary and rhythmic shaking and can affect almost any part of the body,

Mrs Grant read out part of a statement by Mrs Ramsay, who is chairman of the Scottish Tremor Society, outlining why she was passionate about a campaign led by the University of Dundee to bring the innovative treatment to Scotland.

Mrs Grant said Mrs Ramsay had told her: “My tremors, and the lack of understanding surrounding them, has impacted my entire life.

"Those of us with essential tremor deserve better, and there is a better option. If there is a will and determination to fight essential tremor, and to understand its causes, it can be overcome for the generations that will come after me.

"It is for those determining the outcome of this consultation to decide whether their will, and their determination, is sufficient for Scottish doctors and Scots with essential tremor to have the best opportunity to fight this fight.

"For me, and my part, if focused ultrasound helps someone avoid what I went through, I will fight to my last breath to get it.”

The committee agreed the treatment had benefits and is going back to the government to ask why a decision has stalled, what is needed to achieve the introduction of the treatment and what the timescales are.

After the meeting Mrs Ramsay, of Dalneigh, said she was in tears when she heard Mrs Grant read her statement to the committee.

“When she got to the last bit, the tears started rolling,” said Mrs Ramsay who has received deep brain stimulation, a process which places electrodes in the brain, to help her condition.

“This is another step forward and I am hoping that we get the required response from the government to get this technology in Scotland.”

Mrs Grant told the committee that Mrs Ramsay would not benefit from the new treatment but was passionate that others could.

“All the scientific work and case work surrounding this looks really positive and yes, it is a new treatment and will take time to get embedded, but it will be a game change for those with essential tremor, brain cancers as well as Parkinson’s,” Mrs Grant said.


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