NICOLA Sturgeon has agreed to look into the provision of motor neurone disease (MND) care following a meeting with a dying campaigner.
Gordon Aikman, former director of research at the pro-UK Better Together campaign, launched a five-point fightback plan after being diagnosed with the terminal condition.
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He has called for research funding to be doubled, fast-tracked benefits and a cancellation of care charges.
He is also demanding that the number of specialist MND nurses be doubled from the current seven, with the posts paid for by the public purse rather than funded from charity donations.
He was given a special judges’ award at this year’s Scottish Politician of the Year Awards and used his acceptance speech to call on the First Minister to meet with him to discuss care for MND sufferers.
Mr Aikman said they “had a positive and productive meeting” today.
“The First Minister agreed to end the national scandal of charging terminally-ill patients for personal care,” he said.
“We both believe the postcode lottery needs to end and Nicola Sturgeon says she will do whatever it takes.
“We discussed the shocking fact that specialist MND nurses are funded by charity - people running marathons and holding bake sales - instead of through our NHS.
“The First Minister has agreed to hold a review of specialist nursing across Scotland.
“MND kills - and fast. This review must happen fast and deliver for patients.”
Ms Sturgeon said: “I’ve been very moved by Gordon and his campaign to raise awareness of this terrible disease, and his reaction to his diagnosis has been nothing short of inspiring.
“We had a very constructive meeting and I am pleased Gordon and MND Scotland have agreed to work with us to map the provision of specialist MND nursing care and how this is supported.
“This will include looking at how specialist nursing care is provided and delivered, both now and in the future.
“I’m very open to any suggestions that allow us to ensure that the level of care for people with MND, and other terminal diseases, is of a standard they rightly expect.”
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