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Setback for Highland tremor treatment campaign is 'deeply frustrating'; Campaigner pushing Holyrood for access to 'life-changing' treatment for condition


By Tom Ramage

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Rhoda Grant MSP with Mary Ramsay (right).
File picture.
Rhoda Grant MSP with Mary Ramsay (right). File picture.

A health campaigner has spoken of her disappointment after the Scottish Parliament’s public petitions committee said it could not address her petition calling for what she believes could be life-changing treatment.

Mary Ramsay, who suffers from Essential Tremor and is chairwoman of the Scottish Tremor Society, wants to see people like her in Scotland given access to transcranial Magnetic Resonance Guided Focused Ultrasound, more commonly referred to as MRgFUS.

Already available in England, her petition has been considered by the Holyrood committee on multiple occasions since it was first tabled, in July 2019, and was set to be discussed again this week.

However it was dropped from the agenda after cabinet secretary for health Jeane Freeman failed to respond in time to a request for written evidence on whether the treatment can be cleared for use in Scotland.

Mrs Ramsay, who is from Inverness, said: “I am deeply frustrated that the cabinet secretary for health and sport has failed to respond to our parliamentary petition.

“One hour of her attention could mean a lifetime of change for many thousands of Scottish people living with a condition that could be treated more effectively, safely and cheaply.

“The Covid-19 response must be taking up most of the cabinet secretary’s attention right now and we all want to see Scotland recover from Covid-19 and build NHS Scotland back better.

“Surely MRgFUS could build an opportunity for recovery for Scottish Essential Tremor patients alongside these plans. If the cabinet secretary does not respond to the Scottish Parliamentary Petitions Committee before the election, we will have to start the process all over again.”

Highland and Islands Labour MSP Rhoda Grant, who supports Mrs Ramsay’s campaign, said: “To hear that we are further delayed in our efforts to offerpotentially life-changing treatment is incredibly disappointing.

“Many Essential Tremor patients in Scotland will be extremely disheartened by this news, particularly when this treatment is already being offered in England.”


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