MSP wants ‘flat head’ action

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

MSP John Pentland has called for action from the Scottish Government to help victims of plagiocephaly, or flat head syndrome.

The Motherwell and Wishaw MSP raised the issue at the Scottish Parliament following concerns expressed last year, and highlighted in the Motherwell Times, from a Motherwell mum whose three children all suffer from the syndrome.

Margaret Watson argued that “helmet therapy” with special equipment can make a dramatic difference if children are treated at the right age - ideally, between four months and a year - but the NHS doesn’t recognise this form of treatment.

She says she was told by her GP the NHS would not offer this type of treatment because it was regarded as “purely cosmetic”.

Her case was taken up by Mr Pentland who says there is a lack of information being provided to parents about plagiocephaly.

Speaking in the Scottish Parliament, he asked what the Scottish Government had done in the last year to assess and address the incidence of plagiocephaly.

Mr Pentland said public health minister Michael Matheson, admitted that the Scottish Government and NHS Scotland have not assessed the incidence of plagiocephaly in the past year, but claimed that the Scottish Government provides information to all new parents.

However the MSP says this is not the picture he has obtained from freedom of information requests.

He said: “Responses that I have obtained from health boards show gaps in their knowledge and in information provision to parents.

“Because of the Scottish Government’s disinterest and inaction, hundreds of severely affected babies every year might be missing out on the treatment that they need?”

“The Scottish Government does not know what is going on – they are in the dark about the information gap.

“The responses I have received show that some health boards are giving out leaflets about how to prevent the condition developing, but not necessarily to all parents, while others cannot even say whether parents are being told.

“I will be writing to the Minister to give him the information that he lacks, and to ask for this neglect of the condition to be addressed - not least through treatments being properly researched and assessed.