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Creation of specialist Neurosurgical service for intractable headache patients in Scotland

This petition had 14 supporters

It is estimated that somewhere between 1-3% of the UK population suffer from chronic migraines. 

Chronic migraine is a debilitating condition where patients suffer headaches for 15 or more days per month, with migraine on at least 8 of these days. In real terms, this means that a person with chronic migraine has a headache or migraine for more than half the days in a month. Patients can be very disabled due to chronic migraine. Many people with chronic migraine find it hard to work normal hours or may have difficulties with everyday tasks such as household chores or participating in family activities. Chronic Migraineurs are more likely to have anxiety and depression, further contributing to the burden of the disease. In some chronic migraine patients, and indeed other chronic headache subtypes, the headache pain is present 24/7 constantly, and has been for years, potentially decades.

Often these sufferers are entirely unresponsive to treatment, including triptans, painkillers, withdrawal of all painkillers, Botox injections, Intravenous Caffeine, Greater Occipital Nerve Block, Intravenous DHE (Dihydryoergotamine), CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), Sleep Hygiene, Acupuncture, Meditation, Hypnosis, and Exercise.

Indeed, usually, this condition is so severe a patients mood, sleep, appetite, motivation, concentration, social life, quality of life, ability to work, and ability to exercise are all hugely impacted. There is a high risk of suicide in these patients.

There are currently no Neurosurgeons in Scotland who perform ONS (Occipital Nerve Stimulation on Intractable Headache patients (whether they be intractable migraine sufferers, new daily persistent headache, chronic cluster headache or hemicrania continua). This means all patients in Scotland, must be referred to centres in England, (usually London). There is often a resistance to refer, a hesitancy to refer, or issues regarding aftercare costs.

Many of these patients who have tried all available treaments are literally at the end of their tether, and have zero quality of life.

There are surgeons who can perform ONS in Leeds, Liverpool, Oxford, Southampton, and London.

This petition is aimed at setting up a Neurosurgical service in Scotland in at least one hospital (most likely Glasgow Queen Elizabeth Hospital) and potentially Edinburgh Western General or Aberdeen in order to better cater to these intractable patients. Costs could be potentially reduced, both of surgery, multi-disciplinary care, and aftercare. Research into why this surgery works for some patients and not for others, could be also enhanced.



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