In Scotland today one million people live with a neurological condition that affects their daily life.
Neurological conditions – like Parkinson’s, Multiple Sclerosis, Epilepsy, Motor Neurone and Stroke – account for one in five emergency hospital admissions and one in eight GP consultations.
A quarter of all disabled adults of working age have a neurological condition and the numbers of people with such conditions is to grow sharply in the next two decades.
Despite this, awareness of these conditions is low. That means that people can struggle to get the support they need. Local MSP, Jackie Baillie says that now is the time to recognise the missing millions.
On Tuesday 12th March, during Brain Awareness Week 2013, the Neurological Alliance of Scotland held a reception in the Scottish Parliament. Hosted by MSP, Mary Fee, its purpose was to raise awareness and support for the one million Scots living with one of these conditions.
At the event, member organisations of the Neurological Alliance of Scotland joined forces and brought together people living with different neurological conditions in Scotland to talk to MSPs, including Jackie, to share their experiences and to ask them to recognise the missing million.
MSPs were asked to pledge their commitment to improving the support and services their local constituents living with a neurological condition receive.
Jackie Baillie says: ‘There remains a postcode lottery in Scotland and services are better for some conditions than others.
‘Living with the symptoms of a neurological condition is hard enough, and often these are stigmatised, misunderstood, or minimised. In the changing climate of Welfare reform the risk of people with neurological conditions going without vital benefits, leading to financial problems and social isolation is a growing risk and an area of huge concern.
‘I am adding my support to this campaign to raise awareness for constituents in Dumbarton, Vale of Leven and Helensburgh and Lomond who are amongst those dealing with a neurological condition.’
In the same vein, Highlands and Islands MSP Jamie McGrigor will be wearing the purple ribbon for Purple Day on Tuesday 26th March.
This is being held to raise awareness of epilepsy and Jamie McGrigor will join other MSPs and thousands of Epilepsy Scotland supporters holding purple-themed fun activities in schools and workplaces across the country.
The MSP says: ‘Up to 6,000 of my constituents in the Highlands & Islands have epilepsy but opinion polls show one in four Scots know nothing about this long-term condition.
‘When people ask me what the purple ribbon is for I will be able tell them about this international awareness day. The beauty of Purple Day is that it offers a light-hearted way to get people thinking and talking about epilepsy. This in turn can help to remove some of the stigma and fear people associate with the condition.
‘Everyone can enjoy Purple Day in their own way. Epilepsy Scotland has a free pack with an A-Z of ideas on their website here.
‘I’m delighted to support Purple Day and commend Epilepsy Scotland for their work in raising awareness of this important cause.’