New team boosts care for Parkinson’s patients

The appointment of two new specialist nurses to boost services for Parkinson’s Disease patients in Lothian has been approved by the NHS Lothian.

The joint initiative by NHS Lothian and the Parkinson’s Disease Society means patients and their carers will have greater access to practical help and advice.

The new recruits will work alongside the existing Parkinson’s nurse specialist Alison Stewart, meaning that Lothian will have a three-strong team.

Jackie Sansbury, NHS Lothian director of strategic planning, said:


“Parkinson’s can be a devastating illness but much can be achieved through expert care and support.
“Our new team of nurses will be able to do much to help ensure that patients have the best possible quality of life.




“Illnesses commonly associated with old age like Parkinson’s are a growing challenge to the NHS because people are living longer than in the past.
“This means it is important that we work with patients, families and groups like the Parkinson’s Disease Society to continue developing our services.”
The new posts will be funded by the Parkinson’s Disease Society for the first two years and by NHS Lothian thereafter.


Diane Wilsdon, Influence and Service Development Officer for the Parkinson's Disease Society, said:
“The specialist nurse approach is highly successful and brings benefits for patients and the health service.
“By providing ready assistance in the community they can reduce the need for GP appointments and hospital visits, with each nurse helping the NHS save around £45,000 a year.
“The advice they offer can help ensure that people with Parkinson’s are able to live the fullest lives they can.”
Another function of the nurses will be to help patients and carers with the often complex drug regimes that are needed to reduce symptoms.
The Lothian Parkinson’s Forum, set up by leading experts in the disease put forward the business case for the additional nurse specialists and has warmly welcomed the approval of the new posts.
Dr Conor Maguire, member of the Lothian Parkinson’s Forum, said:
“There is no doubt that the new team will radically improve services for people with Parkinson’s across all of Lothian.
“The forum was established to work within NHS Lothian at developing a co-ordinated service pathway for people with Parkinson’s, ensuring equal access to optimal services and maintaining people with this long term condition in the community.
“The development of this team of nurse specialists will go a long way towards achieving these objectives.”