Access to Migraine Treatment — [David Mundell in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 10:46 am on 20 March 2024.

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Photo of Dehenna Davison Dehenna Davison Conservative, Bishop Auckland 10:46, 20 March 2024

I am very grateful to the Minister for his remarks, and particularly for the fact that he has already actioned some of the points we raised by asking the MHRA to look into primary care prescribing. He also said that the Under-Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, my right hon. Friend Dame Andrea Leadsom, is potentially exploring the further use of pharmacies, which is clearly a positive step.

My right hon. Friend Sir Gavin Williamson made the brilliant comment that we clearly need to tackle migraine differently. I hope there can be a bit more oomph from the Department when it comes to recommendations from NICE. I appreciate that independence is crucial, but by raising awareness as we are doing today, and hopefully with some input from the Minister, we can perhaps still ask for another review without asking NICE specifically what to put into its guidance.

I am grateful to all right hon. and hon. Members who attended. They made some very interesting points and raised the cases of constituents living with this horrible condition. My right hon. Friend the Member for South Staffordshire talked about the wider impact of migraines, which many of us touched on. This is a health condition that does not just come on every so often; it has a wider impact on a person’s life and causes anxiety. It is about the in-between days when they are wondering when an attack might next strike. I am grateful to the Minister for recognising that and for talking about his own family’s experience of migraine, given that his sister suffers from the condition.

I am grateful to my right hon. Friend Caroline Nokes and Owen Thompson for sharing their experiences of migraine. Though their experiences were different in some ways, they were very similar in others, such as in the severity of attacks and the anxiety about how to tackle them. I was absolutely staggered by the amount that my right hon. Friend the Member for Romsey and Southampton North has spent on tackling her migraine. Botox can be an incredibly effective treatment, yet so many are unable to access it on the NHS, despite it being an approved treatment. That is another lifeline that we need to address. She raised the case of Monica, her constituent, who has had issues with her employer. I completely agree with my right hon. Friend and the hon. Member for Midlothian that migraine should formally be considered a disability, so that employers not only should, but have to put in place reasonable adjustments.

The hon. Member for East Londonderry