HEALTH chiefs hope Parkinson’s Disease patients will see big improvements to their care from September, when a specialist nurse starts work in East Lancashire.

As reported earlier this year, East Lancashire is one of just 12 NHS areas not to benefit from a specialist nurse, and commissioners agreed to team up with the Parkinson’s UK to provide one.

The charity offered nearly £100,000 to fund the position for two years, with the understanding that East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) will take over funding from 2015/16.

The project has now been rubber-stamped, with the position due to be filled by the end of the summer. The nurse will be based at St Nicholas Group Practice in Burnley, but will also serve patients in Hyndburn, Ribble Valley, Rossendale and Pendle, offering home visits for patients with more severe problems.

It follows a five-year campaign by sufferers and their families to get increased support. The issue was raised last year by various patients at a ‘listening event’ in Rossendale, in which the CCG asked for feedback on services in the area.

Burnley MP Gordon Birtwistle said: “It is absolutely fantastic news that East Lancashire has secured a community Parkinson’s Disease nurse – it is much needed.

Sufferers should be able to receive specialist care in their own homes, tailored to their needs. It should make a great difference to the lives of patients.”

Parkinson’s is a neurological condition and symptoms can include tremors, slowness of movement, tiredness and pain.