Rona: We should all be eternally grateful for Marie Curie

Rona: We should all be eternally grateful for Marie Curie

PALLIATIVE care charity Marie Curie has been praised by MSP Rona Mackay during a parliamentary debate.

The Strathkelvin and Bearsden MSP praised the charity’s work supporting terminally ill people and their families in the debate, Marie Curie’s Great Daffodil Appeal.

In noting its history, she told how the first cancer hospital was opened in Fife in 1952 some 22 years after Marie Curie died. Ms Mackay highlighted the “remarkable” scientist in the debate, which also coincided with International Women’s Day.

The SNP government’s commitment to palliative care, in the ‘Strategic Framework for Action on Palliative and End Life Care 2016-2021’ and commitment to doubling the care in Scotland in the ‘Health and Social Care Delivery Plan’ was highlighted by Ms Mackay.

She said: “Marie Curie nurses give people with a terminal illness choice and dignity. To put it simply, Marie Curie is a fantastic charity that makes it possible for people who are faced with a terminal illness to have the choice to die peacefully, in their own homes, surrounded by the people they love. We simply cannot put a price on the work that Marie Curie nurses do.

“Currently in the United Kingdom, there are nearly 2,200 Marie Curie nurses caring for people with terminal illnesses in their own homes. None of us knows whether or when we will need the support of Marie Curie nurses, but we should all be eternally grateful that, if we do, they will be there.”

Later in her speech, she added: “On international women’s day, it seems fitting that we remember the remarkable woman who made all this possible. Marie Curie was born into a poor family in Poland in 1867 as one of five children. She had an insatiable appetite for learning and, through sheer determination, she entered university at the Sorbonne in Paris, where she read physics and mathematics. Her discovery of radium and polonium, for which she and her husband, Pierre Curie, won the Nobel prize for physics, has saved millions of lives throughout the world. She was the first woman to win a Nobel prize, the first person to win one twice and the only person to win one for two different sciences. What a legacy to leave to the world.”

A full version of Rona’s speech is available at www.ronamackaymsp.scot.

ENDS

Notes to Reporters

Video of full speech: https://youtu.be/UcOq8zugSuo

Full speech:

Rona Mackay (Strathkelvin and Bearsden) (SNP):

I thank Linda Fabiani for securing this important debate.

Marie Curie nurses give people with a terminal illness choice and dignity. To put it simply, Marie Curie is a fantastic charity that makes it possible for people who are faced with a terminal illness to have the choice to die peacefully, in their own homes, surrounded by the people they love. We simply cannot put a price on the work that Marie Curie nurses do, as Linda Fabiani outlined.

Currently in the United Kingdom, there are nearly 2,200 Marie Curie nurses caring for people with terminal illnesses in their own homes. None of us knows whether or when we will need the support of Marie Curie nurses, but we should all be eternally grateful that, if we do, they will be there.

The great daffodil appeal is Marie Curie’s biggest annual fundraising campaign. From wearing a daffodil pin to organising large gala dinners or small bake sales, there are countless ways for people to get involved. There are Marie Curie fundraising groups in my constituency in Bishopbriggs, Kirkintilloch, Lenzie and Bearsden that are doing great work, and they are just some of the 85 groups in Scotland that have raised more than £4 million.

The Marie Curie Memorial Foundation was established in 1948, and the first Marie Curie home for cancer patients opened in 1952 in Cupar, Fife. Today, nine hospices across the UK offer round-the-clock care and support in a welcoming environment for the people who stay there and those who come in for day care. Marie Curie is the largest provider of hospice beds outside the national health service. The funds that the great daffodil appeal generates ensure that that role can continue and develop. Marie Curie is also one of the UK’s leading funders of palliative care research.

Each year, 11,000 people in Scotland who need palliative care are not accessing it—in other words, one in four of the people who need palliative care are missing out. That is why I welcome the Scottish Government’s “Strategic Framework for Action on Palliative and End of Life Care 2016-2021”, which sets out the vision that everyone who needs palliative care should have access to it by 2021. The Government has also committed to doubling the number of palliative care services in the community through its recently published “Health and Social Care Delivery Plan”.

On international women’s day, it seems fitting that we remember the remarkable woman who made all this possible. Marie Curie was born into a poor family in Poland in 1867 as one of five children. She had an insatiable appetite for learning and, through sheer determination, she entered university at the Sorbonne in Paris, where she read physics and mathematics. Her discovery of radium and polonium, for which she and her husband, Pierre Curie, won the Nobel prize for physics, has saved millions of lives throughout the world. She was the first woman to win a Nobel prize, the first person to win one twice and the only person to win one for two different sciences. What a legacy to leave to the world.

With our increasingly ageing population, we must ensure that our terminally ill are treated with respect and dignity and can die peacefully where they choose. I therefore urge everyone to get involved in the great daffodil appeal in any way they can, because every daffodil counts. As the great Marie Curie herself said,

“One never notices what has been done; one can only see what remains to be done.”

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