Scottish Liberal Democrat and Shetland’s MSP, Beatrice Wishart, used a members debate for MS Awareness Week to speak about the high prevalence of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in Shetland.
Wishart called for more support for those living with MS, and spoke of the higher household bills as a consequence of the condition, as well as the unmeasurable impact on their families.
It is not known why but Orkney has the highest incident of MS anywhere in the world.
Similarly more Shetlanders are likely to live with MS than their Mainland counterparts in Scotland.
MS is a condition that affects the brain and spinal cord, the coating that protects nerves (myelin) is damaged.
This causes a range of symptoms like blurred vision and problems with movement and feeling.
The Shetland group of the MS Society can be contacted on 0131 335 4050, by email: firstname.lastname@example.org and online.
During the debate Ms Wishart said:
“Research continues into why there is greater prevalence in the Northern Isles and for new treatments and therapies.
“But we all look forward to the day when we can say we have found a way to stop MS.
“Getting the help from Government, such as PIP, often requires a walking test.
“What these tests don’t measure is the long term, changeable, fluctuating nature of MS.
“Walking any distance could feel much easier one day than the next for someone living with MS.
“Appeals and bureaucracy contribute to the uncertainty and sense of powerlessness.
“The effort to overturn something you know to be unjust can be exhausting.
“A system has developed whereby people are forced through hoops of admin to survive.
“With the uncertainty of MS comes a sense of powerlessness.
“We must address both and ensure those living with MS, and those around them, feel supported.”