Local couple Jean and George Hardman from Kinmel Bay were among those in attendance at the Pierhead Building, Cardiff for a Parkinson’s UK event to launch a new report, championing the contribution of Parkinson’s nurses in Wales.
The report is part of the charity’s Fair Care campaign, which calls for everyone in the UK with the condition to have equal access to Parkinson’s services – wherever they live.
Jean and George Hardman met with their local AM and Shadow Health Minister, Darren Millar to discuss the importance of Parkinson’s nurses in the North Wales area. Parkinson’s nurses help people manage their medication and offer advice, information and emotional support to anybody affected by the condition. Currently only 79% of people with Parkinson’s across the UK have full access to a nurse, including many people in Wales with the condition, who have still never seen a Parkinson’s nurse or are unable to access one.
Jean Hardmansaid: “Living with a long-term fluctuating condition like Parkinson’s means I have complex needs. Having a dedicated, local specialist means that I have someone there to offer expert advice and support when I need it most. Without my nurse, I’m not sure how I would cope – he/she helps me to live a more normal life.
“I hope that the Welsh Government takes notice of this report and realise how important it is to have equal access to Parkinson’s nurses throughout Wales.”
The contribution of Parkinson’s nurses saves the NHS millions of pounds by driving down demand for consultant appointments, decreasing unexpected hospital admissions and shortening hospital stays.
People with Parkinson’s have the right to live as independently as possible, but they need specialist support from Parkinson’s nurses to do this. A recent survey showed that twice as many people with Parkinson’s rated their nurse as the most helpful in understanding the Parkinson’s services (65 per cent), rather than their neurologist (32 per cent).
Darren Millar AM said:“This latest report from Parkinson’s UK has really made clear how important Parkinson’s nurses are in providing local advice and support across communities in Wales.
“We recognise the need for equal access to Parkinson’s nurses for all people living with the condition across Wales. I welcome the work that Parkinson’s UK is doing on this and will try to make sure that this issue is taken up by the Welsh Government going forward.”
Aileen Napier, Wales Manager at Parkinson’s UK, said: “People with Parkinson’s tell us the most important person in helping them manage their condition is their Parkinson’s nurse. We are so passionate about this that we have invested over £12million in specialist Parkinson's nurse posts in the UK. Yet many people in Wales have still never seen a Parkinson's nurse.
“We hope that this latest report will help promote and protect this vital frontline service for everyone affected by Parkinson’s in Wales. We understand the government’s need for financial restraint and that is why we want to celebrate the fact that Parkinson’s nurses provide cost-effective best practice care that is vital to people with the condition.
“Visitparkinsons.org.uk/walescampaigning now to join our campaign to champion Parkinson’s nurses in Wales and ensure everyone has access to a Parkinson’s nurse wherever they live.”
Photo shows Darren Millar at the Parkinson’s UK event