South Shropshire MP and former Health Minister Philip Dunne is backing a campaign to renew the current thalidomide Health Grant.
Thalidomide damage (particularly shortened upper limbs the most common damage) is increasing the impact of normal health issues associated with ageing – such as hearing loss, incontinence and problems with balance and falls.
The current Health Grant is due to run out in 2022, and campaigners are seeking to make sure it will be renewed. Mr Dunne is backing calls for a clear and public commitment to renewing the Health Grant – on a ten-year rolling basis with regular reviews.
Mr Dunne said: “Since its introduction in 2010 as a pilot scheme, the Health Grant has transformed the lives of the 426 thalidomide survivors in the UK.
The Health Grant has enabled survivors to maintain much of their independence and dignity, to pay for practical assistance or specialist physiotherapy and home adaptations as they get older. But by the time the final payment under the existing ten-year Health Grant agreement is made in June 2022, over 75% of UK thalidomiders will be aged 60 or over, with declining health.
So I am calling for a clear commitment to renew the Health Grant beyond 2022, to give much needed reassurance to thalidomide survivors that this funding will continue.”