Newcastle North MP, Catherine McKinnell, has committed to continue speaking up for people with multiple sclerosis (MS) after rejoining the All-Party Parliamentary Group on MS as an officer of the group.
It is estimated that around 480 people are living with MS in Newcastle, and more than 100,000 people have the condition across the country.
Multiple sclerosis is an incurable, progressive neurological condition, and it is not currently known what causes it. Some symptoms of MS can be seen or heard – such as balance or speech problems – however, others are invisible, like fatigue and chronic pain. Those affected by MS often say that people don’t understand their condition, with symptoms being mistaken for being drunk or lazy.
Once diagnosed, MS stays with you for life, but with access to the right treatments, care, financial and emotional support, people with MS can manage the condition, its symptoms and live independent lives.
The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for multiple sclerosis, which Catherine previously chaired when first elected to Parliament, is a cross-party group of MPs and members of the House of Lords, which work together to raise issues faced by people living with MS.
‘I’m really pleased to rejoin the APPG for MS as an officer of the group, and I am committed to raising the profile of MS in Parliament to ensure that people affected by this condition in Newcastle North – and right across the UK – can get the right treatment and support they need.
‘I know from friends and constituents affected by MS that it is an unpredictable and challenging condition, which can be painful and exhausting.
‘I’ve worked closely with the Newcastle and Gateshead branch of the MS Society, and look forward to continuing to share their concerns – and those of constituents – as part of the APPG’s work.’
Genevieve Edwards, Director of External Affairs at the MS Society, said:
‘MS affects more than 100,000 of us in the UK and we are delighted that Catherine has rejoined the APPG for MS and is committing to speaking up for MS in Parliament. MS is often painful and exhausting and can cause problems with how we walk, move, see, think and feel.
‘Right now we are at a crucial time for people with MS with promising research ongoing which will one day allow us to stop MS. However, until a cure is found it is vital that people with MS get the right support. This can only be achieved through ensuring national policies reflect the needs of disabled people, like those with MS and everyone has a better understanding of this complex and difficult condition.’