Concerns raised over Parkinson’s care
A new report’s found people with Parkinson’s are facing “major issues” accessing care from “overstretched” local NHS services.
Parkinson’s UK found there are “unacceptably long waiting times”.
More than 700 people in the Forth Valley currently have a Parkinson’s diagnosis – but that number’s expected to increase by 40% over the next two decades.
The charity’s Scotland director Annie MacLeod says a shortfall in Parkinson’s nurses should also be addressed:
“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. Sadly, we’ve found problems and failings are not isolated incidents but are part of a Scotland-wide under-provision of services for people with Parkinson’s.
“All but one Health Board – Western Isles – has inadequate specialist Parkinson’s nurse provision. Across Scotland there should be at least 40 Parkinson’s nurses, instead we have less than 30. With only the equivalent of 1.4 Parkinson’s nurses, Forth Valley is a full nurse short of what it should have.
“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. These targets are typically missed by a large margin. Last summer, people who needed to see a neurologist in NHS Forth Valley had to wait up to 25 weeks to be seen – more than twice as long as the NHS target time. Waiting times for neurology services in Forth Valley are regularly among the poorest in Scotland.
“Parkinson’s UK in Scotland finds these delays wholly unacceptable. Across Scotland, at least one in ten neurology and medicine for older people consultant’s posts are unfilled, and urgent action must be taken to recruit consultants with expertise in Parkinson’s, speed up diagnosis and enable people with Parkinson’s to be properly monitored and have timely access to treatment.
“We welcome the Scottish Government’s new National Action Plan for Neurological Conditions and see it as a real opportunity to improve services and support for people with all neurological conditions, including more than 700 people currently living with Parkinson’s in Forth Valley. We believe that this Plan must be properly resourced, with strong leadership, to enable NHS Boards and Health and Social Care Partnerships to provide the support that it needed to keep people with Parkinson’s as well as possible for as long as possible.”
An NHS Forth Valley spokesperson said: “NHS Forth Valley has one named Parkinson’s Specialist Nurse. However the neurology specialist nursing team link closely with neurology and ageing and health consultants to support people with movement disorders.”