A Gwynedd Senedd Member is supporting Migraine Awareness Week (5-11 September) to call attention to the struggle 10 million people face and the need for better care.
Migraine is one of the most disabling conditions in the world, affecting one in seven people in the UK. A new report by the UK’s leading migraine charity The Migraine Trust reveals the legacy of pain and damaged lives caused by the UK’s broken migraine healthcare system. From being dismissed as ‘just having a headache’, waiting years to be diagnosed, to a lack of access to specialist care and new treatment, the report launched for Migraine Awareness Week exposes a broken healthcare system that migraine patients struggle to navigate.
The Migraine Trust says this is leading to the worsening of people’s migraine, limiting their ability to carry out their lives with a huge impact on personal relationships, work and mental health. It is calling for an urgent review of migraine healthcare.
Mabon ap Gwynfor, the Senedd Member for Dwyfor Meirionnydd explained: “I'm supporting Migraine Awareness Week to lend my voice to the thousands of people in Wales who live with migraine, and to call for better migraine care. This new work by The Migraine Trust shows we badly need investment in training and specialist services, to lift the burden migraine places on people and our NHS.
“Migraine affects 450,000 people in Wales and has a huge impact on their daily lives. Acting to improve migraine care will improve quality of life for thousands of people in Wales, and will also reduce work days lost to illness and relieve pressure on A&E departments. Better care could save many more of the 43 million work days that are lost to migraine in the UK each year, and avoid most of the 16,500 emergency admissions for headaches and migraine attacks if we simply give people better care. Change is urgently needed.”
Rob Music, Chief Executive of The Migraine Trust, said ““Despite the widespread and wide-ranging impacts of migraine on our population, this report has highlighted that migraine is largely absent from NHS plans or local public health strategies, receives very little funding for research, and access to specialist care is patchy and inconsistent across the country. This must change.
“Our support services at The Migraine Trust are contacted daily from people who have had to fight to be diagnosed correctly, who have to wait months to see a specialist; or who are unable to access the NHS-approved medication they are eligible for.”
Key problems in migraine healthcare
The report, Dismissed for too long, found a wide range of issues with migraine healthcare including:
● Slow or no diagnosis: People with migraine are often only diagnosed several years after starting to have migraine attacks
● Lack of access to specialist care: Most migraine patients never see a headache specialist, including those with chronic migraine who are referred to neurologists who may not have an expertise in migraine.
● Lack of access to approved medications: the charity says problems in migraine healthcare have intensified over the last year as many people who are eligible for new migraine medication have struggled to access it, despite it being approved for use on the NHS.