Research by the Scottish Huntington’s Association (SHA) has found that health and social care spending on incurable neurological conditions attracts far less funding per person than diseases such as cancer.

The figures based on a snapshot of Huntington’s disease (HD) treatment and wider social care are generally replicated across the whole country said the SHA’s chief executive John Eden.

“Our figures show that each HD patient has on average £7500 spent on their medical treatment that is drugs, psychiatrist and neurological treatments but also on wider social care. Support from speech and language therapists, dieticians, occupational health specialists, physiotherapists and social workers is all required to ensure people living with HD have as comfortable a quality of life as possible,” he said.

“This is a small percentage of what is dedicated to diseases such as cancer. It is never an either or situation but I would like to see more equilibrium in spending when it comes to what resources go towards what condition.”

In their report entitled, Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment: A 2021 Projection, healthcare provider BUPA estimates that the cost of cancer diagnosis and treatment will rise from £9.4billion in 2010 to £15.3billion by 2021 – an increase of £5.9billion.

This will mean that while in 2010, the average cost of treating someone diagnosed with cancer was approximately £30,000 a year; by 2021 this will rise to almost £40,000.

“These cancer figures are based on treatment alone and do not take into account the wider social care figures that our study does which can significantly inflate the total amount being spent on each individual.”

HD is a hereditary progressive condition that causes changes to muscle control, thinking processes and can cause long-term mental health issues. The average age of onset is between 33 and 45 and those living with the condition will require 24 hour care as it progresses into its later stages. Each child of someone diagnosed with HD is at 50% risk of developing the condition themselves. There is no cure.

SHA is the only charity in the country supporting families living with HD.

“I don’t believe that HD treatment is alone in this bias in spending, I think if work was done of other degenerative long term illnesses like motor neurone and Parkinson’s the pattern would be similar,” added John.

“There needs to be more of a realistic realignment on medical and social care spending priorities.”