WE will step up our support for patients with motor neurone disease.
That was the pledge made by Portsmouth councillors after they signed a legal charter setting out a string of ways people must be given extra support.
The signing at the Lord Mayor’s Banqueting Suite comes after relatives of former Pompey player Kim Manns made the case that the authority needed to step in.
Mr Manns had a spell at Fratton Park in 1972 and was diagnosed with the condition two years ago. His family came to witness council members put pen to paper and meet colleagues from the MND Association.
Kim’s son Christopher, 34, of Baffins, said: ‘This is a big step forward. Portsmouth is one of the first councils on the south coast to sign the charter.
‘It’s such a progressive disease, dad was only diagnosed in 2012 and when we get over the initial shock, it was all about wanting to help and support the charity.’
Under the MND charter, the council will ensure patients get an early referral to a neurologist, access to information throughout each stage of their condition and access to the right drugs.
They will have early access to palliative care, and will be offered a personal care plan to specify what they need.
The council will also make sure people have access to benefits.
Cllr Donna Jones, leader of the council, said: ‘I believe all local authorities have a duty to do all they can to improve the quality of lives of people who have been diagnosed with MND.’
Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, Lib Dem group leader, said: ‘It’s great we are being public about this. It’s great we are showing our support and we should do the same for all people with a life threatening disease.’
MND volunteer Helen Warren, from Fareham, said: ‘The fact the council has signed the charter and is preparing to act on it means any problems people get will be treated quicker.’