A LONG-awaited parliamentary debate about the availability of a vital cystic fibrosis drug on the NHS has taken place in the capital.

After more than three years of campaigning, a discussion about an e-petition relating to access to Orkambi and other drugs for people with cystic fibrosis was held in Westminister Hall on Monday.

The debate, which was opened by Paul Scully MP, a member of the Petitions Committee, marks a significant milestone in the journey for campaigners of the drug.

An online petition, which prompted the debate, collected more than 108,000 signatures in a six-month period.

The family of four-year-old cystic fibrosis sufferer Ayda Louden travelled from Carlisle to London on Sunday ahead of the debate.

David Louden, the dad of Ayda, and a cystic fibrosis campaigner, was one of many who sat in on proceedings.

He told the News & Star: “The debate went really well, and more than 40 MPs attended.

“The new health minister attended the meeting, and seems really keen on moving this forward as soon as possible.

“The meeting addressed that we need action now.”

While David expressed his frustration at the lack of a timeline as to when a solution will be reached, he added his hopes for a rollout in the near future.

“It is frustrating, but is also another step closer.

“We will keep pushing, and adding pressure on this.

“I’d like to thank everyone who signed the petition and has supported myself, Stacey and Ayda.”

Carlisle MP John Stevenson was one of many MPs who attended.

At the meeting, Mr Stevenson said: “I met Ayda’s family last week to discuss how [cystic fibrosis] has affected them.

“Thinking about the introduction of the drug, and of the benefits it could bring about - one is the saving to the NHS, through the need not to use other drugs, and the lack of visits the family would have to have at hospitals.

“Would you [Mr Scully] also agree that it would bring about a significant improvement to family life, not only for the individual, but also for the extended family as well?”

In his response, Mr Scully said: “It’s not just about the patient, it’s about the friends, the family and loved ones.”