This year for MS Week we got loud for MS specialist nurses, and the fantastic work they do across Scotland to support people with MS.
1. Spoke to more than half the parliament's MSPs
We set up an exhibition about MS nurses in the heart of the Scottish Parliament, right outside the debating chamber. This meant we could speak directly to MSPs about MS and the importance of MS nurses. In total we spoke to 68 MSPs.
After vising our exhibition, lots of the MSPs pledged to work with us to support MS nurse provision across Scotland.
Image: Policy Manager Niall with our supporter Stacey Adam.
2. Secured a debate in parliament
Eleven MSPs spoke in a debate in parliament about MS Week and the role of MS nurses. In fact, so many MSPs wanted to speak that the debate was extended by half an hour.
MSPs from all parties supported the debate and people spoke with passion about how MS has touched the lives of their friends and families. You can watch the full debate here.
Image © Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body
3. Raised awareness of MS at First Minister's Questions
Having handed out MS Society pin badges all week, we were delighted to see MSPs proudly wearing their orange MS Society badges during First Minister's Questions. Four of the five party leaders wore our badge including First Minister Nicola Sturgeon MSP.
Image: Screenshot of First Minister's Questions
4. Held a parliamentary reception
On the Wednesday of MS Week we welcomed supporters, third sector organisations, MS nurses, health professionals and MSPs to the Scottish Parliament for our MS Week reception, hosted by George Adam MSP, convenor of the parliament’s Cross Party Group on MS.
Our amazing speakers included MS nurses Lindsay Collins and Anne Thomson from NHS Ayrshire and Arran, MS campaigner David Trotter, and the Minister for Public Health and Sport, Aileen Campbell, who spoke on behalf of the Scottish Government and talked about the importance they place on MS specialist nurses.
Image: MS nurses Lindsay Collins and Anne Thomson
5. Put MS in the media
National and local papers covered our story on the importance of MS nurses, and our Director Morna Simpkins spoke on TV about our campaign – appearing on both STV News and STV Glasgow ‘Live at Five’.
And YOU shared lots of our social media content, helping us get the word out there. In case you missed it, check out our guest MS nurse blog posts and our ‘My MS is important to me because…’ video. On twitter we saw #MSAwarenessWeek go through the roof.
Image: screenshot from our MS nurse film
Thank you so much to everyone who helped us get loud!
We’ve told MSPs how crucial MS nurses are. Now we need to use that awareness to make sure every health board in Scotland has the MS nurses they need. Currently only five of the 11 mainland health boards are deemed as having sustainable MS specialist nurse provision. We’ll be working with decision makers to push for change.