Facilities need to be improved for sufferers

There are many voluntary groups that focus on rare health conditions that affect a minority but have massive ramifications for them, their families and the NHS.

The relative rarity of such conditions makes it essential that those who have them, and their families, do their utmost to lift the profile of often life-changing or life-ending diseases above the political radar, or they can be forgotten all too easily.

Myself and other MPs often lend a hand to highlight the plight of those with the muscle-wasting disease, muscular dystrophy. This is a cruel and incurable congenital disease which shortens the lives of mainly boys.

Short of a cure, the priority is to manage the symptoms and increase the quality of life. I have recently tabled a Commons motion that focuses on the benefits of warm water physiotherapy treatment or hydrotherapy. This improves or maintains mobility, strength and flexibility.

But some are being turned away from hydrotherapy pools after being told they are only for use by people with broken bones. There are more pools for animals.

My motion suggests the authorities improve community swimming facilities and the NHS reviews its policies.

Helping the less fortunate is the mark of a civilised society and part of our reflections in this festive season.

Finally, let me wish you and your loved ones a merry Christmas and a happy New Year.