Holyrood for mum’s case

John Pentland MSP with Margaret Watson and kids Calum and Conor.
John Pentland MSP with Margaret Watson and kids Calum and Conor.

A Motherwell mum who says her fears have been “brushed under the carpet” by the NHS is to have her case heard at the Scottish Parliament.

Margaret Watson says there’s no reliable NHS way of dealing with plagiocephaly, often called “flat head syndrome” - and complains that advice that the problem will solve itself frequently isn’t true.

Now, following a report on her concerns in Motherwell Times, local MSP John Pentland aims to raise the issue at Holyrood.

After visiting Mrs Watson and her children on Monday he said: “I am concerned that this condition, which can be very distressing for parents, is being dismissed as cosmetic.

“In the case of my constituent, Mrs Watson, all three of her children have been affected to varying degrees.”

He added: “Mrs Watson has found that with her older daughter, re-positional therapy recommended by the NHS has not worked, and understandably is looking for something more effective for her sons (twins Calum and Conor).

“I will be raising this with the minister and asking for a review of the provision of orthotic treatments for these conditions”.

Mrs Watson and her husband Edward say they’re delighted the issue is being raised in the Scottish Parliament, and hope it could ultimately lead to a full debate on how “flat head syndrome” should be treated.

They argue that until now they - and a significant number of other parents - have been “fobbed off” with bland assurances that they have nothing to worry about.

Like some other parents in the same position they’ve felt obliged to invest large amounts of cash in cranial helmets claimed to make a difference.

These typically cost around £2,000,and the NHS is sceptical about this kind of treatment being effective.

Mrs Watson says her own case shows there can be a range of causes for plagiocephaly, but says she’s particularly angry at NHS “assurances” to the effect that the syndrome is “only cosmetic”.

“It just isn’t true that the problem will correct itself, as our daughter’s experience shows,” she said.

“And there are several examples of NHS treatment being carried out for things which really are only cosmetic.

“We want to raise the profile of plagiocephaly and how the NHS deals with it, and the fact it will be aired at the Scottish Parliament is good news for lots of parents who share the same concerns - it is time they were taken seriously.”