Major victory for MND Scotland

Mark-craig

Scottish Government commits to making available specialist communication equipment 

4th September 2015 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

People with motor neurone disease have claimed a major victory after campaigning successfully for access to specialist communications equipment.

First minister Nicola Sturgeon announced a new statutory right to communications equipment in response to Motor Neurone Disease (MND) Scotland’s campaigning on the issue.

The charity launched its campaign Let me Speak in June of this year, highlighting the devastating impact of losing your voice to MND and the urgent need for a statutory duty to supply communications equipment to those affected.   

Until now, the charity has found itself plugging an NHS gap and claims that many people with MND in Scotland would die without a voice if they were dependent on NHS services. 

In her programme for government 2015/16, Sturgeon referred to charity campaigner Gordon Aikman, who was diagnosed with MND in 2014. The first minister said: “Access to voice equipment is vital to anyone who is at risk of losing their voice as a result of conditions like MND. Gordon Aikman and MND Scotland have been campaigning for those who need voice equipment to have a statutory right to it.

Access to voice equipment is vital to anyone who is at risk of losing their voice as a result of conditions like MND - Nicola Sturgeon

“So I can announce today that we will bring forward an amendment to the health bill currently before Parliament to provide this. We will also work with health boards over the next year to improve the quality of equipment and services available.”

MND Scotland’s chief executive, Craig Stockton, said communications equipment is a lifeline for many people with MND, yet too many have had to buy their own equipment or rely on MND Scotland’s loan service, when they should be able to access it through the NHS. 

He added: “Our Let me Speak campaign called for the Scottish Government to introduce a statutory duty to supply communications equipment to those who need it. 

“This announcement means this will become a reality and that even those without a voice are being heard.”

Mark Craig (pictured) who lives in Glasgow was diagnosed with MND two years ago. 

He can no longer use his hands and has also benefitted from eye gaze technology, loaned from MND Scotland.

Mark said: “The equipment has been a massive help to me as it has allowed me to keep in touch with family and friends through social media and email." 

As a information developer with the Royal Bank of Scotland, Mark said the equipment allows him to continue to work using eye detection equipment as his eyes have now replaced his hands to type my emails.

“It allows people like me to be able to lead a normalish life for a considerable amount of time and gives us a voice in this increasing social media time,” he added.