Blog: The implications of the Scottish Parliament brain tumour debate

Wednesday 6 December 2017

Our Policy & Public Affairs Manager Cameron Miller, outlines tomorrow's MSP debate in the Scottish Parliament

Tomorrow, Thursday 7 Dec, MSPs will have a chance to debate 'Brain Tumour Awareness in Scotland' following a successful motion tabled by Alexander Stewart MSP.

This motion attracted over 50 signatures from his fellow Parliamentary colleagues across the political spectrum.

The work that Alexander Stewart and his office have put into securing this debate has been phenomenal and we are exceptionally grateful for their efforts.

This debate will help shine a light on brain tumours and bring people in a position of power up to speed on the issues facing our community.

When people are elected to any position, be it Parliament or Council, they have a responsibility to listen to their constituents, and take positive action that will lead to real change. Alexander was moved by the story of his constituent, Shona Richardson, and was determined to take action.

We have encouraged our community to write to their local representatives and ask them to participate in this debate. We know that they heard them and that they will make the effort to come and contribute on Thursday. Some won't be able to, due to prior commitments, and that's ok because we know tomorrow is only the start of this process.

The issues facing our community won't allow for it, they are too complex and nuanced to just be concluded after an hour of discussion. What we need is for this to be the start of a conversation between our community and those who can do something about it.

All elected representatives I have ever met are exceptionally hard working and dedicated public servants. So I have no doubt that when confronted with the often traumatic and difficult diagnostic pathways brain tumour patient have to go through, when they see the stark reality of what life is like living with a brain tumour and when they see the strength, determination and tenacity that those who are faced with these challenges present they won't be able to ignore this cause for any longer and will be as determined as we are to see change.

They can only do this if they know the facts though, so I would encourage anyone who has not yet written to their MSP, to do so.

After the debate 11,000 people in the UK will still be diagnosed with a brain tumour over the next year. 1 in 2 still face financial difficulties, 29% will still experience mobility problems and 2 in 3 will have seen a negative impact on their relationships with a partner.

These statistics are harsh realities, but your stories in your words are the most powerful tool we have to help affect change.

This fight will not be concluded with conclusion of the debate, in many ways it will only just be beginning.

Find out more about our Policy work and get involved here