Iain Gray calls for more nurses for Parkinson’s sufferers

Iain Gray has called on the Scottish government to address the shortage of specialist nurses available for people suffering form Parkinson’s disease in Scotland.

Iain Gray said: “About 10,000 people in Scotland suffer from Parkinson’s disease. Action must be taken to tackle the shortage of Parkinson Disease Nurse Specialist. We need at least one PDNS for every 300 people with Parkinson’s in Scotland. Yet currently there are only around 25 specialist nurses in Scotland.

“Next year the World Parkinson’s Congress is meeting in Glasgow and we want to be able to hold our head up and say sufferers from Parkinson’s in Scotland get the best treatment available.”

Iain Gray will be meeting Parkinson’s Haddington Support Group today in Haddington in the lead up to Parkinson’s Awareness Week next month from April 20-26.

He said: “In Lothian there has been only one specialist nurse for over 700 people with the real case load estimated at closer to 1500. Many people will be astonished at such figures Thanks to lobbying from fellow MSPs Rhona Brankin and Margo MacDonald the Lothian Health Board are recruiting two more. But three will still not be enough.

“In Scotland we underestimate the scale of Parkinson’s. If this applied to other diseases there would be an outcry.

“The Scottish government figure of 4,800 significantly underestimates the number of sufferers. These figures are from patients attending primary care but do not measure the total prevalence of the disease in the population.

“The Parkinson Disease Society estimate there are 10,000 people with Parkinson’s in Scotland. What all this means is people with Parkinson’s miss out on specialist services and services are over subscribed with an inbuilt disincentive to identify and treat undiagnosed Parkinson’s.

“Something must be done to address a problem where one in three Parkinson’s sufferers has never spoken to a PDNS. More than one in three has never received treatment from a physiotherapist.

“More than half never received treatment from a speech and language therapist. More than half never received treatment from an occupational therapist. Other areas health boards can start taking action with government support are by backing the Get it On Time campaign run by PDS. It may sound unbelievable but many Parkinson’s sufferers do not get their medication on time or the right dosage when they go into hospital. These are not insurmountable obstacles and can be overcome if there is the will to do it and the adequate funding.”

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