Delight as NHS England approves funding for MRgFUS to treat essential tremor
The NTF is thrilled to announce that NHS England has made the decision to provide vital funding for the novel Magnetic Resonance-guided Focused Ultrasound (MRgFUS) for the treatment of essential tremor. Further to a public consultation opened earlier this year, plus the ongoing campaign supported by the NTF, the Specialised Commissioning Oversight Group (SCOG) provided its guidance to NHS England to fund MRgFUS from April next year.
The guidance states that the treatment will be available to patients who have moderate to severe Essential Tremor, and where current medication has failed to adequately suppress the tremor or causes adverse effects.
“This news is extremely welcome within the neurology community.” said Prof Wady Gedroyc, MD, Consultant Radiologist at London’s St. Mary’s Hospital. “Eligible patients with Essential Tremor will now have access to a new treatment option in the quest to help them manage their condition, something we know they will all be desperately seeking. I am delighted at the decision as it brings fresh hope to those living with this debilitating condition. I am looking forward to seeing the first NHS patients from April next year.”
MRgFUS is a safe and non-invasive, cutting-edge treatment for Essential Tremor, often performed in an outpatient setting, enabling patients to quickly return to work and daily life - making a significant improvement on people’s lives.
“This is a major development in the treatment options available in the UK for people suffering from moderate to severe Essential Tremor.” said Dr Peter Bain, Consultant Neurologist with Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust. “The team at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust are very grateful to the NTF for their help in getting MRgFUS treatment for NHS patients funded by NHS England. I would like to personally thank Kevin Harfoot and his colleagues in the NTF for their crucial support of MRgFUS through the consultation process and hope that in time this procedure will be available at other UK Neuroscience centres.”
This new treatment option will be invaluable to many people living with the daily struggles of Essential Tremor. Simple everyday tasks such as brushing teeth or eating can require support, and patients report a significant negative impact on their mental health, with some turning to alcohol to reduce the tremors. More supportive therapies to help patients manage are greatly welcome from patients too.
“I’m very supportive of this decision.” commented Lord Julian Fellowes, creator, writer and executive producer of Downton Abbey and Honorary President of the National Tremor Foundation. “It (Essential Tremor) has stopped me writing, which is ironic given my job, and it can be tiring when you can’t just get on with your daily activities. More awareness of the condition and more treatment options are needed to help those struggling with the daily challenges ET can bring.”
Geoff Sleight (75), was recently treated with MRgFUS, “As someone who has received MRgFUS I am amazed at the results. With my tremor virtually gone, I can now do simple things like have a drink without spilling it at the dinner table. The fact that I can put my own eye-drops in is incredible, and it really brings it home when my granddaughter says `Grandad, your hand’s not shaking any more’. This treatment has given me a part of my life back that I thought was lost. It is excellent that the NHS recognises MRgFUS so more people can benefit like I have.”
Find out more about the success of the Action On ET campaign.