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Friday 21st October 2016

Parkinson's services struggle

20th July 2006

20072006_physio1.jpgExperts have warned that a lack of specialist service for Parkinson's disease could leave GPs struggling to follow recently issued NICE guidance.

GPs were advised by NICE to refer all suspected cases of Parkinson's to specialists rather that initiating treatment themselves.  It also recommended that patients with Parkinson's should have follow up assessments with specialists every six to 12 months.  PCTs in some parts of England are preventing specialist follow-up consultations, which means that GPs are being left to perform such checks themselves, even though this may not be an appropriate situation for Parkinson's disease. 

The guidance also emphasised the importance of access to specialist physiotherapy, Parkinson's nurses, occupational therapy and speech therapy. Low availability of these specialist services mean that GPs may have to commission local therapists who do not have the required expertise in Parkinson's.  The rate of misdiagnosis of Parkinson's disease in the community is about 50 per cent, compared with 6 to 8 per cent in hospitals.

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