A Deeside man living with Parkinson’s for five years has warned that North-east people with the condition are having to wait too long for diagnosis.
Mike Powell, from Aboyne, says there’s a “real feeling” amongst the Parkinson’s community they are being overlooked in terms of resources and investment.
His criticism came as a charity voiced concern that health and social care services are struggling to meet the needs of the area’s growing population of people with the progressive neurological disease.
The Parkinson’s UK report highlights unacceptably long waiting times for diagnosis and a shortfall in Parkinson’s nurses.
About 12,400 people in Scotland currently have a Parkinson’s diagnosis – nearly 1,300 in Grampian, predicted to increase by 40% within the next 20 years.
Mr Powell said: “Despite the best efforts of the people in the NHS that we see working flat out in Grampian there’s a real feeling amongst the Parkinson’s community that we are all too easily overlooked in terms of resources and investment.
“Too often we have to wait too long for diagnosis. Follow up appointments are too short and infrequent and accessing other therapists and services can be a real struggle for some. Specialist nurses have a vital role but when they are so overworked, we don’t get to see them as often as we should.
“Parkinson’s isn’t going away any time soon, not for me and the community and not for the NHS either.”
Annie Macleod, Parkinson’s UK Scotland director, said: “This is the first time that we’ve shone such a searching spotlight on Parkinson’s services in every part of Scotland.
“We recognise that people providing care are doing an incredible job, but we’ve been challenged by people with Parkinson’s to discover whether their individual experiences are unique or part of a bigger and worrying picture.
“Sadly, we’ve found problems and failings are not isolated incidents but are part of a Scotland-wide under-provision of services.
“Patients and their families tell us of the anxiety caused by delays in diagnosis. Despite this, neurology services are routinely missing the Scottish Government’s 12-week target for new outpatient referrals
“These targets are typically missed by a large margin, and NHS Grampian is the worst performing board in Scotland. Last summer, people who needed to see a neurologist in NHS Grampian took up to 42 weeks to do so.”
An NHS Grampian spokeswoman said: “A review looking at every aspect of neurology and it’s associated services is currently underway.
“We are aware of the challenges, particularly around workforce, that impact on the patients waiting longer than we’d like to be seen.”