A Central Scotland MSP is looking to highlight the crippling effects of migraines by hosting a special event in the Scottish Parliament tomorrow (Thursday).
Despite one in seven people in Lanarkshire living with painful and debilitating migraines, residents are less likely to have access to specialist doctors and nurses than in other parts of Scotland according to latest research.
Scottish Labor MSP Monica Lennon has teamed up with The Migraine Trust to raise awareness of the chronic condition and push for better access to treatment and specialist care in Lanarkshire.
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The Central Scotland politician has previously talked about her own experience of migraine, a condition that affects 780,000 people in Scotland.
Ms Lennon will host an event with The Migraine Trust in the Scottish Parliament to raise awareness of the health condition.
The information drop-in session is aimed at the Scottish Parliament’s other 128 MSPs, especially those who were elected for the first-time last year.
The MSP told Lanarkshire Live: “Migraine can be a debilitating and painful condition. Despite thousands of people in Lanarkshire being affected, there is still not enough specialist treatment and support available, and awareness remains low.
“I am pleased to support The Migraine Trust’s work to improve migraine care and to end the stigma that surrounds this chronic condition.
“The condition is around two to three times more common in women than men as hormonal changes can be a trigger. I know from personal experience that migraine is much more than ‘just a headache’.
“It is a long-term condition and for some it can be a whole-body experience causing real disruption in both their personal and working lives.
“I hope to welcome as many MSPs as possible to the information event, where they can learn how to support people with migraines in their areas.”
Statistics obtained by The Migraine Trust revealed that NHS Lanarkshire had: a below-average number of GPs with a specialist interest in migraine compared to other health boards in Scotland; no specialist headache nurses and no migraine-related education or training programs for GPs in place.
Waiting times for a medicine which prevents migraine from developing stretched to 71 weeks in Lanarkshire.
This was the longest waiting time recorded for an eligible patient in Lanarkshire who could access Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide medication monitored by a consultant or specialist GP.
The Scottish average-waiting time for this migraine medication is 19 weeks.
Rob Music, chief executive of The Migraine Trust, added: “It is great to have the support of Monica Lennon MSP.
“Migraine is a serious condition that has been both dismissed and underinvested in for too long.
“We’re asking all healthcare systems to review their migraine needs and services, and are encouraging Parliament, as well as all employers to be migraine-friendly employers and support The Migraine Trust’s call for real and positive change.”
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.