Taking Parkinson's to Parliaments across the UK
Politicians across the UK learnt about the experiences of people affected by Parkinson's this year and many were inspired to take action. Here are a few highlights.
Over 50 Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) met with Parkinson's UK in the autumn, including First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon.
When James Dornan MSP heard about problems people have accessing specialist Parkinson's support, he visited the Parkinson's team at his local hospital in South Glasgow. He also met and chatted with people affected by the condition who use the service to find out what improvements could be made.
An event at the Welsh Assembly in November saw over 40 people affected by Parkinson's talking directly to Assembly Members (AMs) about their experiences of accessing therapies.
Issues of patchy service provision, transport problems and referral failures were all raised, as well as examples of where speech and language, occupational therapy and physiotherapy were accessible and worked well.
Following the event several AMs wrote to their health boards to raise concerns or visited their local Parkinson's branches.
Parkinson's UK staff have met with Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) to discuss the Health Minister's plans for transforming Northern Ireland's Health and Social Services.
The proposals could transform the lives of people affected by Parkinson's and include plans to tackle waiting lists, ensure every GP practice has a district nurse, health visitor and social worker, and have 54 pharmacies based in GP practices by March 2021.
MPs and Peers were briefed throughout the year on topics ranging from poor quality benefits assessments to the inconsistency of health and care services across England, medicines management in hospitals and the need to focus on research in the Brexit negotiations.
In total MPs and peers asked over 50 parliamentary questions, spoke in numerous debates in both houses with many actively helping to stop further cuts to benefits by meeting Ministers and showing their support for our concerns.
You helped us to meet 38 MPs at the party conferences, where we spoke to them about safeguarding research funding, the need to review the prescription charge exemption list and about proposals to devolve attendance allowance.
We are focused on continuing to raise concerns with politicians to improve health and care services
Finally the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Parkinson's has supported much of this work and last month Madeleine Moon MP and Baroness Gale were re-elected as Chair and Co-Chair respectively. For a full list of members please see our dedicated APPG on Parkinson's page.
The year ahead
This year has seen us deliver some important campaign wins together, including securing Duodopa in Scotland. However we are focused on continuing to raise concerns with politicians to improve health and care services.
All our work relies on the input and activity of supporters, please help by joining our campaigns network where you will receive regular information about how you can get involved to improve life for those living with Parkinson's.