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

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