NHS waste £31m a year5th December 2011
Campaigners have warned that the NHS is wasting up to £31 million annually because it is not giving patients with muscular dystrophy the right treatment.
According to a report which covered eight NHS trusts, over four in 10 (41%) of emergency hospital admissions could have been prevented.
The report also said patients were missing out on specialist treatment and equipment.
MPs said they planned to make improvements for muscular dystrophy patients as part of the ongoing modernisation of the health service.
Over 70,000 people in the UK are affected by one of 60 types of muscular dystrophy.
The condition causes muscles in the limbs to waste, and can affect the heart and lungs.
The report, was compiled by neurologist Prof Michael Hanna of University College London Hospitals NHS Trust, looked at 267 unplanned hospital admissions for 200 neuromuscular disease patients in eight NHS trusts.
Campaigners said there were just 30 experts available to 70,000 patients and this is only 50% of the number advised by the Walton report in 2009 which said treatment of muscular dystrophy patients was "inadequate and not acceptable".
Prof Hanna said: "This data indicates that a significant proportion of emergency admissions could have been avoided."
"Neuromuscular conditions are progressive and it is crucial that patients receive ongoing input from a co-ordinated multidisciplinary team of specialist health professionals to manage changing symptoms, to reduce complications and to provide expert advice on equipment and treatments."
Robert Meadowcroft, head of the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign, said: "Patients are missing out on vital specialist healthcare services and support."
"It is appalling that the NHS is being so short-sighted in its approach that we're in a situation where children and adults are needlessly becoming critically ill.
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