Essential tremor (ET) affects approximately one million people in the UK, 4,000 of which are in Scotland, and it is believed to be eight to ten times more common that Parkinson’s disease.

There are currently limited treatments for patients with ET in Scotland, with one centre in Glasgow offering Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) treatment, usually with limited availability and a long waiting list. As such, there is an ongoing petition to make magnetic resonance-guided focused ultrasound surgery (MRgFUS) available on the NHS in Scotland. The procedure can be carried out in Scotland as MRgFUS technology is already available at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee. Mary Ramsey, chair of the Scottish Tremor Society, is championing to ensure that Scottish patients with essential tremor have access to more treatment options. 

Since April this year (2021) MRgFUS is available on the NHS in England, having received a positive guidance from NICE in June 2018 and funding agreement with NHS England in April 2021. However, because of delays caused by the pandemic and funding approval, the waiting time to be seen in the tremor clinic at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust is currently over 2 years.

If you live in Scotland and are interested in finding out whether MRgFUS would be a suitable treatment for your essential tremor, ask your GP or neurologist to write a referral to Dr Tom Gilbertson, Neurological department, Ninewells Hospital in Dundee.

For further updates please visit our Focused Ultrasound page.