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Inverness gran brings campaign over tremor treatment to Scottish Parliament

By Alan Shields

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Rhoda Grant and Mary Ramsay.
Rhoda Grant and Mary Ramsay.

An Inverness grandmother who suffers from tremors has taken her campaign for better treatment to the Scottish Government.

Mary Ramsay brought her 'Essential Tremor' campaign to the Scottish Parliament accompanied by the National Tremor Foundation and fellow patients.

They met with MSPs to highlight the potential of magnetic resonance-guided focused ultrasound (MRgFUS).

Campaigners say the non-invasive and effective treatment could benefit over 4000 patients currently living with essential tremor in Scotland.

Mary, a grandmother of 12, has campaigned for disability rights and equality for more than 40 years.

She said she remains mystified that since starting her campaign in Scotland, England has two centres which now use MRgFUS whereas her home does not.

She said: “I have lived with tremors all my life and did not receive a formal diagnosis until I was 48.

"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."

Focussed ultrasound is a non-invasive treatment - focussing ultrasound on specific parts of the brain identified with tremors, to relieve their onset and progression.

Focussed ultrasound is less risky and less traumatic for patients, with full recovery in a matter of hours rather than days, Mary said.

Children can potentially be back at school the next day, saved the trauma of a major medical procedure and protracted recovery and, more importantly, reducing their absences and offering something closer to a ‘regular’ childhood.

And adults will be better placed to undertake employment and full-time education, with a wider range of opportunities for their present and future.

Mary said: "We have long waiting lists here, folk are waiting to access invasive deep brain stimulation, some are being referred south of the border to receive MRgFUS treatment, at a cost.

"It’s madness that the Scottish Government are not seizing the opportunity to provide it on the NHS, a treatment that we have the capability and resources for.

"I brought my petition PE1723 on Essential Tremor to the Scottish Parliament’s Citizen’s Participation and Public Petitions Committee years ago.

"I am thankful that the committee continues to consider my petition, but it would fantastic if they could push the Scottish Government and National Services Division to come forward with more clarity on the decision-making process.

"That’s why I am hoping that today’s event will highlight just how much of an impact MRgFUS has on patients. I hope this assist the Scottish Government in making decisions to improve thousands of lives.”

Rhoda Grant, Scottish Labour Highlands and Islands MSP has been supporting Mary with her petition.

She said: “It has been a privilege to sponsor this event and raise awareness of the impact of MRgFUS on Essential Tremor.

"It would be a brilliant opportunity for the NHS in Scotland to roll out a treatment that would not only benefit so many but provide opportunities for world renowned research into many areas. I hope that the Cabinet Secretary for Health will pave the way for more formative and positive action.”

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