I think it is tremendous news that Glasgow University has been awarded £3.4 million to establish a new research centre for “precision medicine” (your report, 27 July). Its goal is to find treatments based on the individual patient and in so doing does away with the idea that in medicine, one size fits all.
I sincerely hope that this approach is not simply acknowledged in isolation, but endorsed and embraced by all sections of the healthcare community.
It is a sad irony for those like me with a child with profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD) that while the new research centre may identify medicinal treatments at a molecular level, the needs of PMLD people are not understood because of a failure to gather reliable data on the range of conditions that can affect this highly vulnerable group.
It is a scandal that in the era of cutting-edge personalised medicine, public authorities in Scotland still do not have an accurate handle of the number of people with the most profound learning disabilities in our communities, leaving us ill-prepared to tailor therapies and care services to their needs.
Muir Maxwell Trust is working with a range of charities to fight for better assessment and acknowledgement of their complex needs as this would make a world of difference to the effective delivery of personal care.
The new Glasgow centre provides hope that a shift in mindset around the value of personalised care can ultimately lead to improved outcomes for individuals. It’s time people with profound learning disabilities in Scotland benefited from the same approach.
Ann Maxwell OBE
Muir Maxwell Trust