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Brain Awareness Week

Brain Awareness Week 2015

'Any Age, Many Lives'

2015 saw an extremely successful Brain Awareness Week for the Alliance.

We held an event 'Any Age, Many Lives' in the Scottish Parliament on 18th March 2015 which brought together over 80 guests to discuss the importance of person centred care for people with neurological conditions in Scotland. A number of our member organisations participated with case study posters which illustrated that neurological conditions can affect people of all ages.

Our event was kindly sponsored by Dennis Robertson MSP Aberdeenshire West and a total of 15 MSPs came along on the night and very much enjoyed meeting our members and most importantly people who are affected by different neurological conditions in Scotland, who were able to talk about the issues important to them and how person centred care is crucial.

Our sponsoring MSP welcomed and addressed the event and we also heard from the Minister for Public Health, Maureen Watt who spoke about Scottish Governments committment to person centred care. We also heard from the Minister for Sport, Mental health and Health Improvment, Jamie Hepburn who is responsible for neurological conditions. Last but definately not least, we heard from Gerry McCann about his experience of being diagnosed with and living with Parkinson's disease, a very moving and powerful story which illustrated how important person centred care is.

In addition to our event, we held a week long exhibition stand in the members lobby where over 70 MSPs came to chat to us and hear more about the work of our members and the issues affecting people with neurological conditions. They also signed our pledge board - pledging to support person centred care for life. We also held our 'Brainiest MSP' Quiz once again with great success!

We received excellent feedback about bot the exhibition and event with many MSPs thanking the Neurological Alliance of Scotland for it's work.

Brain Awareness Week 2014

A Sensitive Supported Diagnosis for All: Parliamentary Event & Exhibition

For this year’s Brain Awareness Week, the Alliance held a successful event and exhibition in the Scottish Parliament focusing upon issues regarding diagnosis and post diagnostic support. We are grateful to Christina McKelvie MSP for Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse who sponsored this year’s activities. Sponsor Christina McKelvie MSP

Our Parliamentary event held in Committee room 1, ‘Breaking the News; a sensitive supported diagnosis for all' focused upon how people with neurological conditions are diagnosed, what post diagnostic support they need and the impact of living with a neurological condition for them and their families. This year, there was a fantastic exhibition of art work and quotes displayed, made by people with different neurological conditions to creatively express their experiences.

The art work was created during an art workshop prior to the event, using a range of art materials and facilitated by Edinburgh based Art therapist, Alison Wren. All participants enjoyed the art workshop, using creative methods to depict their neurological journey and to communicate some of the hidden aspects of living with a neurological condition. Quotes were gathered throughout the art workshop and were displayed next to the person’s art canvas at the event in Parliament. This provided audience members with a visual story and prompted discussion with the ‘artists’ who all attended the event alongside the Alliance member organisation for that condition, many displaying their organisations banner stand and literature.

Minister for Public Health, Michael Matheson addressed the audience, highlighting Scottish Governments commitment to ensuring high quality care to people affected by neurological conditions. The audience also heard speeches from Consultant Neurologist John Paul Leach and MS Society member Gillian, who told her very eloquent and powerful story about her diagnosis with Multiple Sclerosis. 10 MSPs attended the event which was excellent as the event unfortunately coincided with a number of other events and meetings that evening. Many of our member organisations also attended and were involved in various ways.

The week long exhibition was held in the garden lobby and displayed literature from many member organisations as well as a model of the brain and various brain facts. 50 MSPs visited the stand throughout the week and spoke to Alliance representatives about the work of the Alliance and issues faced by people with various neurological conditions. MSPs who visited the stand were sent a briefing document from the Alliance which highlighted issues of diagnosis and the need for good post diagnostic support. The briefing also provided data on the current neurologist workforce in Scotland, illustrating gaps and stressing the need to ensure adequate staffing levels. The briefing document can be accessed here.

We also had a fun interactive 'Brainiest MSP' competition at the exhibition stand. MSPs taking part were asked to match different brain functions to the correct area of the brain controlling those functions. There was a large picture of a brain with different lobes highlighted and a set of 6 cards with different functions. MSPs were timed as they matched the functions and lobes. Congratulations to Alison Johnstone, Green MSP for Lothian who won the competition!

Overall the awareness raising activities during Brain Awareness Week 2014 were a great success, bringing together member organisations, people affected by neurological conditions, health professionals and MSPs in an interesting and engaging way. Many thanks to all involved.

Brain Awareness Week 2013

Participants at event

'We are the Missing Million'

To mark Brain Awareness Week 2013 we held our annual event in the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday 12th March. This years event was called “We are the missing million” and was sponsored by Mary Fee, MSP West Scotland. Member organisations of the Neurological Alliance of Scotland joined forces and brought together people living with different neurological conditions in Scotland to talk to MSPs, share their experiences and to ask them to recognise the missing million.

The event had a drop-in ‘market place’ format with a display of posters, each highlighting a different neurological condition and how that condition affects one person. That person was present to talk to guests about why greater awareness of the “missing million” people with neurological conditions is needed. Fourteen of our member organisations took part in this lively and interactive evening and the event was a resounding success with sixteen Cross Party MSPs attending to hear and speak to people about their experiences.

MSPs were asked to get loud about improving the support and services their local constituents living with a neurological condition receive. There remains a postcode lottery in Scotland and services are better for some conditions than others. Living with the symptoms of a neurological condition is hard enough, and often these are stigmatised, misunderstood, or minimised. In the changing climate of Welfare reform the risk of people with neurological conditions going without vital benefits, leading to financial problems and social isolation is a growing risk and an area of huge concern.

We are delighted that so many of our member organisations participated in this year event and look forward to continuing to collaborate to keep the needs of people affected by neurological conditions high on the agenda.


brain awareness week 2012

This year, we held an information stand in the Scottish Parliament for the first time. Six member organisations provided people to staff the stand over three days. We had conversations about neurological conditions with some 58 MSPs, as well as staff, journalists, and visitors. The stand displayed a wide range of literature from our members, and we followed up with materials to help MSPs to pursue matters with their local NHS Board and media.

We even persuaded MSPs from all five parties to take part in our "Brainiest MSP" quiz – and tell us what they knew about neurological conditions in Scotland! We were able to crown Richard Simpson MSP and Jackie Baillie MSP the winners.

Jamie Hepburn MSP hosted our evening Parliamentary reception. People with a range of neurological conditions, the organisations that represent them, NHS Staff, and MSPs, heard more about the future of NHS services for neurological conditions. In addition to speakers from the Neurological Alliance off Scotland and NHS Health Improvement Scotland, there was a presentation from a graduate of the Neurological Voices programme. Gillian Bedwell gave a very vivid and moving description of her experience of living with epilepsy, which highlighted the importance of receiving an accurate diagnosis as soon as possible.

The Alliance received excellent feedback on the event from those in attendance.

Brain Awareness Week 2011

The Alliance held a special event to mark Brain Awareness Week 2011 on Tuesday 15th March at the Scottish Parliament. The event was hosted by Malcolm Chisholm MSP, Edinburgh North and Leith and included presentations on:

• The Impact of Neurological Conditions on People’s lives
• The Allied Health Professional Role in delivering care
• Involving people with conditions in NHS service delivery

There was also a poster display, illustrating research and practice in neurosciences.

The event presented the Alliance manifesto and discussed its key asks, hearing examples of what is done well and provided an opportunity to discuss how the ongoing implementation of the Clinical Standards in Neurology will improve services for people affected by a neurological condition. MSPs, people with neurological conditions and carers and a wide range of researchers, professionals and organisations with an interest in neurological conditions attended the event which was deemed a great success from the positive feedback we received.