MORE HELP IS NEEDED FOR PARKINSON’S SUFFERERS
Margaret’s appeal as new report reveals NHS toils to meet demands of patients
A Stewartry pensioner is calling for more help for people with Parkinson’s disease after a report highlighted the health board is struggling to meet the needs of patients in the region.
Margaret Henderson spoke out after a report published yesterday highlighted a “major underprovision” in services.
She said: “More needs to be done, especially in rural areas when the number of people diagnosed is expected to rise by 40 per cent over the next 20 years.”
The first report of its kind by Parkinson’s UK in Scotland, the study found that, from diagnosis to ongoing care, many people with the condition in Dumfries and Galloway are facing “major issues in accessing the care they need from overstretched local NHS and social care services.”
Inadequate numbers of specialist Parkinson’s nurse provision - there are only two working part time in the region for more than 400 patients — and unacceptably long waiting times for diagnosis have been highlighted as “major concerns” needing a resolution.
Annie Macleod, Scotland director of Parkinson’s UK, said: “This is the first time that we’ve shone such a searching spotlight on Parkinson’s services in every part of Scotland. We recognise that people providing Parkinson’s care are doing an incredible job, but we’ve been challenged by people with
Parkinson’s to discover whether their individual experiences are unique or part of a bigger and worrying picture. “Across Scotland there should be at least 40 parkinson’s nurses, instead we have less than 30. With only the equivalent of 1.2 nurses, Dumfries and Galloway is doing better than many health boards, but it is still short of what it should have, especially covering such a large and rural community.
“People with Parkinson’s and their families tell us of the anxiety caused by delays in diagnosis.
“Despite this, neurology services are routinely missing the Scottish Government’s 12- week target for new outpatient referrals in all but the smallest island health boards.
“Parkinson’s UK in Scotland finds these delays wholly unacceptable.”
Mrs Henderson, 71, was diagnosed with the complex incurable neurological condition 20 years ago, which has now left her living from “hour to hour”.
She said: “It took a year to diagnose because I didn’t have the usual tremor.”
A former paediatric nurse, Mrs Henderson lives in Dalbeattie with husband John who helps to care for her, and receives support from the Dumfries branch of Parkinson’s UK and a small group in Kirkcudbright.
But she says more still needs to be done, especially in rural areas.
“Nowadays there’s a specialist trained team for Parkinson’s in the region”, she said.
“There is a Parkinson’s specialist and two nurses who work part-time and we can access physiotherapy.
“I am happy with the services I receive now, but I appreciate that two parttime nurses aren’t enough for our area and the amount of people here with Parkinson’s.
A health board spokesman said: “Within Dumfries and Galloway we are fortunate to have a multi-disciplinary specialist team for Parkinson’s disease.”
Concerns Margaret Henderson with husband John