Sue Ryder CEO Heidi Travis and Bruce Crawford MSP celebrate the opening of Sue Ryder's Stirling office earlier this year.
Last year I met a young man, Colin, who told me his dad's heart-breaking story. His dad had a huge stroke. His life was saved by the NHS, but subsequently he was stuck in hospital for over a year before being moved to an older people's care home while he waited for his house to be adapted.
This man was the same age as me and it horrified me that someone my age, who had previously been fit and well, could go through this.
The SNP Government has protected the frontline health budget in Scotland, keeping our NHS free at the point of need and publicly owned, and increased staff levels to a record high, and I know that we want to go further.
There is still work to be done
Sue Ryder has published its latest report, Rewrite the Future, into the availability of much-needed specialist care and support for people with neurological conditions.
The report shows that progress has been made and highlights the Scottish Government’s endeavours to get a handle on how many people in Scotland have a neurological condition, where they live and what services they use.
The report tells us that around 86% of people living with a neurological condition live in an ordinary care home for older people – 19% of which are under the age of 65. It also highlights what more could be done on the ground to meet the needs of people with neurological conditions.
A strategy is needed
I am delighted that Public Health Minister Aileen Campbell has committed the Scottish Government to continuing to work closely with Sue Ryder on this matter. Based on the priorities identified by Sue Ryder last year, the Scottish Government has taken action to date and further will be taken on all five points raised in the report.
That's why I'm working with Sue Ryder to advocate for neurological care.
Health and Social Care Partnerships are up and running, and provide an excellent opportunity to achieve major improvements for people with neurological conditions. I look forward to the Scottish Government working with the third sector, NHS and local authorities to put in place a clear strategy to help prevent people with these devastating conditions falling through the cracks.
That means that they will no longer feel written off, and people like Colin's dad will have more tailored healthcare to suit their needs.
Read more about Rewrite the Future