Parkinson's UK hopeful of finding funding solution for specialist nurse team

Talks between charity and local CCG are underway

Talks have begun to ensure people with Parkinson’s disease in an area of Somerset continue to receive care from a team of three specialist nurses.

A recent public meeting saw many patients and carers condemn the decision by Somerset's Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) not to take over funding one of the nurses due to cost-effectiveness concerns.

More than 1,500 people in the county have the condition, according to the charity Parkinson’s UK which organised the meeting in Taunton.

This week it gave an optimistic assessment of the future for the team, saying it hoped to agree a solution in the coming months.

Many of the nurses’ supporters at the meeting told how they provided excellent care plans and advice, and how their specialist knowledge was more useful than that of a GP or consultant.

CCG director of primary care Anne Anderson explained Parkinson's UK had provided £80,000 to fund one of the posts for two years before the CCG reviewed the arrangement.

Although she accepted patients were happy with care they received, she revealed numbers of admissions, length of stay, number of consultation appointments and crisis admissions had not dropped significantly.

Service improvement adviser for Somerset at Parkinson’s UK Geoff King said: ‘Thanks to all the support we have had in raising awareness of this issue, Parkinson’s UK, Somerset CCG and Somerset Partnership Trust are currently in discussions about how to continue funding this post.

‘It is vital that people with Parkinson’s in the area are not left without this essential service.’