East Lancashire health chiefs pledge specialist care for Parkinson's sufferers (From Lancashire Telegraph)
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East Lancashire health chiefs pledge specialist care for Parkinson's sufferers
HEALTH chiefs have pledged to look at hiring a specialist nurse for Parkinson’s disease patients, after being told East Lancashire is lagging behind the rest of the country.
It is thought East Lancashire is one of 12 NHS areas not to benefit from a specialist nurse, despite Parkinson’s sufferers complaining of a ‘severe need’.
Walter Whittaker, 82, of Burnley, travelled to a ‘listening event’ in Rossendale at the weekend to ‘express his disappointment’ at the situation.
The Pike Hill resident, who was diagnosed with the condition six years ago, said: “I need more support to monitor my condition, other than seeing a consultant every six months.
“Between appointments the siutation can very immensely, and general nurses don’t have the right expertise. There’s a really acute need for a specialist nurse in East Lancs.”
Sheila Huxley-Birt, of Waterfoot, said her brother John needed regular re-assessments and medication changes, and although he was often admitted to Fairfield General Hospital in Bury, he was not allowed care from the specialist nurse in that area, as he lives in Newchurch, Rossendale.
She said the Parkinson’s UK charity, which has campaigned on the issue, offers to fund the specialist post for the first two years, so it would initally cost the NHS nothing to introduce.
The provision may save cash the NHS in the long term by avoiding hospital admissions and patients suffering problems such as depression, she added.
Dr Ian Stanley, deputy medical director at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “It’s one of the things that, working in collaboration with our commissioners, we’d like to develop because it will fit in very clearly with our policy of transferring care from the acute hospital into the community in a safe way.
“Most importantly it will mean patients with Parkinson’s and carers receive a much better service and experience of care.
“This is how these events will be of benefit to our patients because it highlights areas we weren’t necessarily aware of.”
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