Thank you for contacting me about support for people with motor neurone disease (MND).
I am very sympathetic to the thrust of your email and I know full well the devastating impact that this disease can have on a person’s quality of everyday life as well as the struggle for patients and their loved ones. Please allow me to assure you that ensuring early diagnosis and support for those living with MND remains a key priority of this Government and the NHS.
With early diagnosis key to treating the symptoms of MND, I am glad that the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has published new guidelines for clinicians on the assessment and management of MND. These set out the signs and symptoms of the disease and recommend that patients suspected of having MND should be referred without delay. The Royal College of GPs and the MND Association have worked together to produce a ‘Red Flag Tool’ which sets out key signs of MND to help GPs to identify suspected cases and ensure prompt referral.
I also recognise the valuable contribution made by carers of people with MND, many of whom spend a significant proportion of their life providing support to family members, friends and neighbours. I agree that carers must receive the right support to help them carry out their caring roles and a new cross-Government National Carers Strategy is being introduced to look at what more can be done to support existing and future carers.
I was extremely interested to read about the research undertaken by the University of Edinburgh which identified an issue with MND patients' nerve cells, suggesting that this damage could be repaired by improving the energy levels in mitochondria. While I understand that this research is still in early stages, it is a most welcome step forward.
Furthermore, I am encouraged that almost £288 million has been spent on research into neurological conditions, including MND, in the past decade through the publicly-funded National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). With the NIHR’s annual spending on neurological conditions up by more than £22 million in that period, I remain hopeful that this funding will discover new ways to improve the lives of those diagnosed with MND.
Thank you for inviting me to the February 2021 Meeting of the APPG for MND. I am currently receiving absolutely unprecedented amounts of casework correspondence from constituents on a range of urgent issues but I will certainly do my best to attend.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
With best wishes.
Jonathan Lord MP
Member of Parliament for Woking