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A manifesto for meningitis

29th May 2024

With a General Election announced for 4 July 2024, Meningitis Now’s CEO, Dr Tom Nutt, discusses what the charity would like to see from a new government.

General Election 24 blog

“Meningitis Now’s vision is a future where no one loses their life to meningitis and where all those affected get the support they need to rebuild their lives. We strive for this because we know only too well the pain and the devastation that the disease can cause."

But we can’t achieve this aim on our own. As we look ahead to the election, and think about what a future government could do, we call for: 

  1. A commitment to make lifesaving vaccines available on the NHS to everyone in the UK who would benefit. This includes renewed consideration to giving the MenB vaccination to adolescents and young adults, taking into account the full social, economic and human costs caused by this devastating disease. 
  2. Leadership to ensure that the UK’s vaccination and immunisation programme remains one of the best in the world. The Government should create the opportunity for charities, industry, the NHS, UKHSA, and government departments, to work collaboratively. We call for long-term investment in prevention and public health as part of a wider vision and plan to improve the nation’s health. 
  3. A commitment to resourcing for the new NHS England Vaccination Strategy (and the equivalent programmes in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland), to reverse the long-term decline in the uptake of vaccinations and to reduce inequalities. 
  4. Continued support for the principles of “Martha’s Rule”, taking into account the learning from NHS England’s Worry and Concern Improvement Collaborative and the long-standing recommendations of the ‘Meningococcal Working Group Report’ about the importance of listening to patients, their carers and loved ones. 
  5. A focus on improving follow-up and aftercare for people who have experienced meningitis and meningococcal disease.
  6. Support for UK life sciences research (as set out in the Association of Medical Research Charities Manifesto), recognising the vital role that charities play in funding and supporting research and development.
  7. Support the World Health Organisation’s plan to defeat meningitis globally by 2030, which aims to eliminate epidemics of bacterial meningitis, reduce cases of vaccine-preventable bacterial meningitis by 50% and deaths by 70%, reduce disability, and improve quality of life for people affected.