Brooke’s ‘Dey’ close at hand

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AN ANGUS MSP has been hard at work trying to help a young girl get a life-changing operation on the NHS.

South Angus MSP Graeme Dey has been mediating with the NHS in the case of seven-year-old Brooke Ramsay from Carnoustie, who suffers from cerebral palsy.

Brooke hopes to qualify for a selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR) to remove the spasticity from her legs and allow her to walk unhindered.

However, the NHS are currently in the process of putting together protocol for carrying out SDR, leaving Brooke in a sort of administrative limbo.

Mr Dey said: “I have been liaising closely with NHS Tayside on behalf of Laura and Stewart [Brooke’s parents] and understand that a decision will be forthcoming very shortly.

“I can understand fully the Ramsay family’s frustration over the time it has taken to get to this stage and the fact that decision had been expected before now.

“But looking at the bigger picture it is important to have criteria in place to determine the suitability of each child seeking this procedure along with agreed pathways plotting post-operative support.

“This is a controversial procedure and one which the published casework suggests is not suitable for every child suffering from cerebral palsy.

“It is therefore important that the NHS, both here in Tayside and across Scotland, has robust criteria in place which both protects the interests of the children concerned and offers parents the assurance that if their child is approved for surgery then behind that decision lies a confidence amongst medical experts that it will prove beneficial both in the short and long term.”

Mr Dey continued: “My understanding is that NHS Tayside is now in possession of suggested criteria and pathways, constructed by clinicians from across the country, and that acceptance of these will be recommended to their Executive Team later this month.

“Once that happens a decision concerning Brooke should follow very quickly.

“This has been a long haul for Brooke and her parents but hopefully we are now close to getting a decision.”

Laura said: “We have been extremely frustrated with not only the length of time it has taken to get a decision on funding for Brooke, but also the way in which we have been left to believe for the past few months that a decision was around the corner. “We have always understood that SDR does not solve all the effects of cerebral palsy, but since communicating with Dr Aquilina back in July last year, speaking to other parents who have gone through and are continuing to go through this, and also speaking to Brooke’s own consultants and physios, we have never been in any doubt that Brooke would benefit from this surgery. “We are very grateful for Graeme Dey’s intervention. “We cannot find anything other than success stories for this surgery in America and the UK, however we accept that Primary Care Trusts do have their concerns. We have no idea what the suggested criteria is, but it has to be a step in the right direction if it gives kids the chance to get this surgery. “We now hope that when they test the criteria against Brooke’s case, we get a quick response as it has been suggested we will.”