An interesting article from MND Scotland’s website about the use of communications technology.
MND Scotland welcomes today’s announcement from the Scottish Government that communications equipment will be a statutory right for people with Motor Neurone Disease (MND).
MND Scotland campaigned for this right through our ‘Let me Speak’ campaign, which was launched during MND Awareness Week in June 2015. The campaign highlighted the devastating impact of voice loss for many with MND and the need for a statutory duty to provide communications equipment.
In response to our campaign, First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon MSP, first announced in September that the Scottish Government would bring forward an amendment to the Health (Tobacco, Nicotine etc. Care) (Scotland) Bill. Today, the 3 March 2016, the amendment to make access to communications equipment a statutory right was passed at Stage 3, and will now become legislation.
Public Health Minister, Maureen Watt, said prior to the announcement: “The prospect of losing your voice can be extremely worrying and I hope that this legislation will provide some comfort and assurance that equipment and support will be available.
“I would also like to acknowledge the important role of Gordon Aikman, MND Scotland and others in helping to bring about the voice equipment provisions contained in this Bill.”
Liz Ogg, who suffers from MND, lost her voice two years ago and uses communications technology.
She said, “What has really set me free is the use of my phone and iPad to speak through voice Apps.
“There are Apps which you can buy, but I’ve found the best for voice quality is ‘Type and Speak’, and it’s free to download. There’s a selection of voices to choose from, depending on where you come from, and they’re free to download too.
“I’ve become quicker at typing in what I want to say and joining in any conversation. My friends have got used to me waving my phone in the air to get their attention!”
This legislation not only applies to people who have lost their voice but also those who can no longer type.
Craig Stockton, CEO, MND Scotland, said, “We are thrilled that a statutory right to communications equipment has become a reality, through the success of our Let me Speak campaign.”
“Having access to equipment which allows a person who has lost their voice to MND to communicate can be a real life line for them, their family and the professionals involved in their care.”