Yvonne Fovargue MP: Migraine sufferers need more help

The Migraine Trust is calling for “migraine to be recognised as having a significant impact and cost on people’s lives, as well as on the economy and NHS” and for “local leadership in reviewing and meeting the migraine needs in every area”.

Thursday, 7th October 2021, 10:11 am
Yvonne Fovargue

It has recently published a report that highlights key areas for improvement, including access to new medication as part of its #BetterMigraineCare campaign.

Migraine can have a significant impact on an individual’s physical and mental health. It can affect their family and social life, education and employment. Although it affects 10 million people in the country, migraine is often underdiagnosed in primary and secondary care.

I sympathise with people who are facing difficulties accessing the services they need.

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I am concerned about the increase in waiting lists over the past year.

The number of people waiting longer than the 18-week maximum waiting time set out in the NHS Constitution has been increasing steadily over the past few years and has seen a significant rise over the course of the pandemic.

Meanwhile, there has been a 200% increase in the number of people waiting more than a year compared to before the pandemic.

There is no doubt the NHS needs more funding, but there must also be a shift in priority away from emergency care towards prevention. This will help catch problems early and ensure better use of NHS resources.

The health and wellbeing of our community is not just in the hands of large hospitals and general practice, but also in the hands of local directors of public health.

I believe there must be a greater focus on close-to-home health services to ensure that people living with long-term conditions can access the care they need.

I am aware of concerns regarding access to new preventative treatments for migraine on the NHS.

The National Institute for Care and Excellence (NICE) – the independent body that advises the NHS on new medicines – has recommended Erenumab, Fremanezumab and Galcanezumab as an option for preventing migraine.

The NHS is legally obliged to fund and resource medicines and treatments recommended by NICE, and patients have a right to access them if their doctor believes they are clinically appropriate.

However, this is not just about physical illness. People living with migraine often experience poor mental health.

I believe everyone, including those suffering from migraine, should be able to access mental health services when they need it.

I support a new NHS target to ensure patients receive appropriate treatment within a month of referral.

Baby Loss Awareness Week takes place each year between October 9-15. This important event provides a vital opportunity to raise awareness of the suffering of parents and families who have lost a child, and to consider ways to improve the care and support following a bereavement or miscarriage.

Progress has been made in reducing baby loss, yet there is still much more to do to.

A report by the Health and Social Care Committee said improvements in maternity services has been too slow, with the Care Quality Commission’s reporting evidence of a defensive culture, dysfunctional teams and safety lessons not learned.

It is essential that families receive the best care and bereavement support as soon as possible. We know that the sooner they get it, the better that care is for them.

Yet access to bereavement support varies across the country. While almost two-thirds of NHS trusts in England have joined a national bereavement care pathway programme, it is vital that Ministers improve provision to ensure all families get the support they need.

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