Report finds ‘major inequalities’ in Parkinson’s services


Too many people with Parkinson’s disease are failing to receive the services they need, according to a report by a group of MPs and peers.
The report by the all-party parliamentary group for Parkinson’s disease found “major inequalities” across England, Wales and Northern Ireland in accessing all aspects of care.
In response, the Parkinson’s Disease Society has launched a campaign, Fair Care for Parkinson’s, to push for the report’s recommendations to be carried out.
The report, Please Mind the Gap: Parkinson’s disease services today, found evidence that England’s national service framework for long-term (neurological) conditions was “not considered a priority”, both at local and government level, and was not being implemented in many areas.
And the all-party group said that the value of therapy and social care services was “not being recognised by many health and social care professionals”.
The report found that, in many areas of England, Wales and Northern Ireland, there was a “lack of impetus” behind the implementation of treatment guidelines set out by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence.
The inquiry also found poor access to information about social care services, as well as limited access to short breaks and other support for carers.
There were also concerns about access to the right services for people in care homes and for black and minority ethnic groups, and a lack of integration between services.
And the report said there was “a large body of evidence” that demonstrated “major shortfalls” in knowledge about the condition among the general health and social care workforce.
Steve Ford, chief executive of the Parkinson’s Disease Society, said: “The report uncovers just how bad services are for so many people with Parkinson’s. This needs to change.”
He called for effective monitoring of services to ensure they meet national guidelines and standards, an “urgent” review of the health and social care workforce, and stronger national and local government leadership.
8 July 2009