'Overhaul' in mental health care for Parkinson's sufferers pledged by Meriden MP - The Solihull Observer

'Overhaul' in mental health care for Parkinson's sufferers pledged by Meriden MP

Solihull Editorial 23rd May, 2018   0

A PLEDGE to ‘overhaul’ local care for Parkinson’s sufferers has been issued by Dame Caroline Spelman MP.

The Meriden MP says there is an insufficient amount of mental health support for the condition – despite anxiety and depression being among its most common symptoms.

A report named Mental Health Matters Too was published by this month by the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Parkinson’s – a long-term degenerative disorder of the central nervous system.

Dame Caroline says she is concerned that nearly half of all people with Parkinson’s experience mental health symptoms yet only a quarter of those affected receive any treatment for it.

The results of a year-long inquiry reveal the psychological aspects of Parkinson’s are being ignored by the health system.

She says many with the condition are waiting months, or even years, to get the mental health support they need.

Dame Caroline is now supporting the APPG’s calls to overhaul the NHS and deliver a more ‘joined up’ approach to care for all aspects of the condition.

She said: “This is an extremely important report. It highlights how there is currently an insufficient level of mental health support for patients with the condition, which must be addressed.

“I have made a commitment today to reach out to our local health authorities to discuss how we can ensure that people with Parkinson’s in Meriden and the wider West Midlands get timely and effective treatment that addresses not just the physical symptoms, but the psychological symptoms too.”

Research for the report, provided by charity Parkinson’s UK, shows nearly three quarters (72 per cent) say their mental health has affected their ability to socialise and Half find it harder to leave the house

More than a quarter (27 per cent) have felt suicidal.

Baroness Gale, who is co-chair of the APPG on Parkinson’s, said: “Although it’s clear the vast majority of people with Parkinson’s receive treatment to manage their easily-recognisable physical symptoms, such as tremor and rigidity, hardly any have access to the support they need for mental health symptoms until it’s too late.

“We hope this report will be the catalyst needed to raise awareness of this hidden aspect of the condition and prompt much-needed changes to the NHS’s approach to mental health for people with Parkinson’s.”

For more information visit www.parkinsons.org.uk/mentalhealthmatters and for support visit the confidential helpline on 0808 800 0303.

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