First Western Isles Parkinson’s Nurse

NHS Western Isles is shortly set to advertise for the first Western Isles Parkinson’s Nurse, thanks to a successful bid for funding from Parkinson’s UK.

It is anticipated that, as a result of the recruitment of a specialist nurse to support people in the Western Isles with Parkinson’s disease, the services provided locally will be significantly improved.

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurological condition which more commonly occurs in the later years of life. People with Parkinson’s don’t have enough of a chemical called dopamine because some nerve cells in their brain have perished. Without dopamine, people can find that their movements become slower so it takes longer to do things.

The loss of nerve cells in the brain causes the symptoms of Parkinson’s to appear. There is currently no cure for Parkinson’s, and symptoms of Parkinson’s do get worse over time.

Parkinson’s UK has awarded NHS Western Isles funding for a 30-hour Parkinson’s Nurse for a period of two years; following which, NHS Western Isles will fund the post.

NHS Western Isles Chief Executive Gordon Jamieson said: “Every hour, someone in the UK is told they have Parkinson’s, and it is estimated that one in every 100 people over the age of 65 will develop Parkinson’s. Here in the Western Isles, there are 76 people identified with Parkinson’s, and there is a predicted 26.7% increase in these local figures by 2020.

“Recruiting a Parkinson’s Nurse will be an extremely positive step, to ensure that we are providing a high quality service to local people with the disease. There is evidence that specialist provision for people with Parkinson’s leads to improved clinical outcomes and quality of life. This specialist nurse will develop effective long term relationships with people living with Parkinson’s. The new nurse will provide medication advice and will be able to identify when people need additional support, and will coordinate their care accordingly.

“I am delighted with this development and would like to thank Parkinson’s UK for this funding. I very much look forward to appointing our first Parkinson’s Nurse.”

Katherine Crawford, Scotland Director, Parkinson’s UK, said: “This is great news for local people living with Parkinson’s, who will benefit enormously from having expert support locally. It’s been very positive to work with a Health Board so keen to provide high quality services for its patients, and we look forward to continuing our relationship with the Board.”

Angus Macleod, a Parkinson’s UK representative who is a lay member on the Western Isles Neurological Managed Clinical Network added: “This appointment will be a tremendous step forward in the service for people with Parkinson’s in the Western Isles. A specialist nurse can provide the individual attention necessary due to the wide variance in the nature and severity of Parkinson’s symptoms from person to person.”