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

South Antrim. I have my DUP colleagues confused—I can only apologise. It is because they both share a brilliant passion for Northern Ireland and for tackling the issue of migraine. I thank Paul Girvan for raising DWP assessments and the difficulty people have in accessing support when they are out of work as a result of chronic migraine. We have heard the statistics about how many people unfortunately have to give up work as a result of this disease, so hopefully we can take that up with DWP next time so that it can review its processes. Certainly, having chronic migraine listed as a formal disability would be a positive step in helping ensure that that is done.

The hon. Member also discussed the point around the devolved bodies. We heard some great testimonies from the SNP spokesperson, the hon. Member for Midlothian, about the positive steps being taken in Scotland and particularly the number of Scottish trusts that allow CGRP blockers to be prescribed. As he rightly said, that number is still not 100% and we need to go further to make sure that new, innovative treatment options that can work for so many people can be accessed by all those who are struggling.

I am grateful to the shadow Minister, Karin Smyth, not only for responding here, but for getting in touch with me in advance of today’s debate so we could share a few notes about the impact chronic migraine can have. She is right to raise the impact on children—I did not particularly cover that in my speech, but my right hon. Friend the Member for Romsey and Southampton North touched upon it, given that she started experiencing migraine at such a young age. In some ways, it is even more terrifying for children because there is that lack of awareness of what is happening when a migraine attack strikes. Again, that is one example of how we need to get this right, in order to give people a better quality of life.

The hon. Member for Bristol South also talked about long-term workplace inactivity. Frankly, the best way we can tackle that is by getting people earlier diagnosis and earlier treatment that actually works. Part of that, as has been mentioned, comes down to knowledge and I am grateful to the Minister for talking about how medical training is outlined and done. It is great to hear that there are e-learning modules specifically on headache and migraine available for GPs and other medical practitioners to access—but I say we need to be bolder and I say we need to go further.

Off the back of this debate, therefore, I will be contacting some of those medical bodies to ensure they know just how debilitating and difficult migraine can be, in the hope that they can ensure not only that their educational modules are top notch and delivering the right information to the right people, but that people are taking those modules. They are not an optional extra; they are an absolute necessity.

I have probably missed some bits—yes, I have: I am grateful to Matthew Pennycook, who is no longer in his place, for raising a point about knowledge, particularly of hormonal migraine, which many people experience. It is right that we continue to research that and make sure that medical practitioners have the knowledge they need.

My hon. Friend Mr Hollobone also raised the experience of his constituent. Again, it was another human story that tells the tale of chronic migraine; another human story that tells the tale of just how difficult this blooming thing can be. I am grateful to all hon. Members here today for taking part in the debate, for getting involved and for showing that there are people here in Parliament who care. To people watching at home, I say, “We are here, we hear you and we are going to do all we can to make this better.” I will keep nagging the Minister until we really see improvements in migraine care.

Question put and agreed to.


That this House
has considered access to migraine treatment.

Sitting suspended.