NORTHERN Isles MP Alistair Carmichael has been appointed as an officer on an all-party parliamentary group which fights for increased funding for research into brain tumours.
The group also helps to shape government policy and raise awareness of the issue.
It met on Monday for the first time since June’s general election and Carmichael was on hand to pledge his support to the cause.
Conservative MP for St Ives Derek Thomas took over from Rebecca Harris as chairperson of the group.
It was formed back in 2005, with charity Brain Tumour Research providing the secretariat.
Findings of a year-long task and finish working group, which was organised to tackle the historic underfunding of research into brain tumours, are expected to be released in the early autumn.
It was organised following a report from the House of Commons’ petitions committee last year which ruled that “successive governments have failed brain tumour patients and their families for decades”.
Carmichael said he has previously supported brain tumour issues, including a campaign for better facilities at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary for island patients.
“I was actively involved in the last parliament with the campaign to have more money put in to brain tumour research and to see improvements made to the Neuro ward in Aberdeen Royal Infirmary where most people from the isles are treated,” he said.
“I have been really moved by some of the stories I have heard from local people about the struggles of them and their loved ones in dealing with this. Brain tumours are not much spoken of but are more common than many realise.
“Working with others in parliament and in the community I want to see that change.”
Brain Tumour Research chief executive Sue Farrington Smith added: “The all party parliamentary group on brain tumours was established to tackle decades of underfunding for research. Even now, less than 20 per cent of those diagnosed with a brain tumour survive beyond five years, compared with an average of 50 per cent across all cancers.
“Following dedicated, high-profile campaigning on this issue, we are getting ever closer to increased investment in research.
“We were very encouraged to see Cancer Research UK announce a new multi-million-pound investment in brain tumour research, to add to the exceptional contribution of the Brain Tumour Research Centres of Excellence. This could be a game-changing year ahead, offering new hope to brain tumour patients and their families.”
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