Cambs County Council pledges support for people with motor neurone disease

Cambs County Council have pledged more support for those with MND.

Cambs County Council have pledged more support for those with MND. - Credit: Archant

There are calls for earlier diagnosis of motor neurone disease as Cambridgeshire pledges greater support to sufferers and their carers.

Cambridgeshire County Council unanimously backed a motion to support the motor neurone disease charter on Tuesday last week.

Cambridge physicist Prof Stephen Hawking spent most of his life with the disease, a neurodegenerative disorder which affects movement and speech, having been diagnosed when he was only 21. Doctors initially only gave him two years to live.

And, according to the motion, there are currently 80 people living with MND in Cambridgeshire.

A number of council services are crucial to people living with MND and their families, including social care, disability adaptations and equipment, carer support and transport assistance.

The council voted to support the charter, which declares the care and support that is due to people living with MND and their carers.

Councillor Amanda Taylor, who put the motion to the council, referenced Professor Stephen Hawking, saying it would be a “positive move” for the council to support the charter.

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Councillor Taylor said: “It is vital people are supported as much as possible.

“Professor Stephen Hawking was a sufferer, for us to adopt the charter today would be a very positive move.”

Councillor Anna Bailey said about 30 per cent of people diagnosed with motor neurone disease died within months of their diagnosis.

“I think this council has a part to play,” she said.

“Timely diagnosis is clearly important and, while that might not be totally within our power, the council does have power to scrutinise the NHS. We can ask what they are doing to make sure the charter is supported within their system.”

The charter enshrines sufferers’ right to an early diagnosis and information, as well as the right to access quality care and treatments.

It also upholds the right to be treated as individuals and with dignity and respect, and the right to maximise their quality of life. As well as this, carers of people with MND have the right to be “valued, respected, listened to and well supported” under the charter.