Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 2nd February 2023.
I congratulate my friend Sue Webber on securing this important debate.
ME affects some 20,000 people across Scotland, and those who live with ME often have very different experiences of the condition. Their symptoms fluctuate severely, which leads to the need for high-level specialist care. Symptoms include extreme pain, post-exertion malaise and cognitive dysfunction, which have a debilitating impact not just on people’s physical health, but on their mental health, careers, education and relationships—all of which can be severely affected by the condition.
I will use my short time today to share some of the experiences of which I have been told by constituents who are living with ME. Many people have been in contact with me since the motion went before Parliament. They range in ages, life situations and symptoms, but they all agree that more must be done to support them and, crucially, the people who support them, including their families.
Sarah, from the Isle of Luing, was a senior physiotherapist for 25 years and she enjoyed mountaineering and long-distance walking, but, as a result of ME, she now struggles to walk more than a few metres. She requires an electric chair for any further distance and is mostly sofa and bed bound. She wrote movingly to me, saying that she felt lucky to have had such a fulfilling life prior to her ME diagnosis but that she worries for young people whose lives are abruptly left without those active experiences and memories. I agree with her. She has a good local GP, who has been able to provide—