Half of people with Parkinson's denied access to medication

People with Parkinson's are being subjected to 'frustrating and scandalous' standards of care in hospital, we reveal today at the start of Parkinson's Awareness Week.

Almost half (47%) of people with Parkinson's are denied regular access to the medication they need to keep their Parkinson's under control.

Time and again people tell us that they leave hospital with their Parkinson's in a far worse state than when they went in.

And people with Parkinson's are being forced to smuggle in medication and are being subjected to shocking levels of drug deprivation by hospital staff.

All data is taken from a March 2014 YouGov survey of more than 3,600 people affected by Parkinson's.

Significant health impact

Medication is a lifeline for people with Parkinson's.

Some people take in excess of 10 tablets a day as part of a strict regime just to be able to move or communicate with those around them.

  • Almost 6 in 10 (59%) of those who did not have regular access to medication in hospital felt there was a significant impact on their health.
  • Nearly 7 in 10 (69%) people with Parkinson's reported experiencing increased levels of anxiety while in hospital because of the difficulties around getting their medication.

Poor understanding

Understanding of hospital staff about the condition remains woefully inadequate.

Over a third (35%) of people with Parkinson's reported that hospital staff had a poor understanding of the importance of giving medication for the condition on time.

Steve Ford, chief executive at Parkinson's UK, explains:

"Nurses tell us they receive an hour, at most, of specialised Parkinson's training.

"This fundamental lack of education has resulted in people with the condition being so terrified by their previous experiences in hospital that they smuggle in their medication."

Increased anxiety

Worryingly, the research also revealed that almost 4 in 10 (37%) of those who were unable to take their own medication found hospital staff were unhelpful in making sure medication was given on time.

One of the ways for the NHS to tackle this growing problem is to allow people with Parkinson's to take their medication themselves.

This resulted in 7 in 10 (71%) people feeling more anxious at the prospect of having to go into hospital again in the future. Steve Ford continues:

"One of the ways for the NHS to tackle this growing problem is to allow people with Parkinson's to take their medication themselves.

"In fact around 70% of hospitals and health boards across the UK have a system in place that would allow people with Parkinson's to do just that.

"Yet it is clear that these processes simply aren't being implemented.

"We hope that our Get It On Time campaign will equip all hospital staff with the right knowledge to deliver the improvements in care people with Parkinson's so desperately need."

Put people with Parkinson's back in control

Throughout Parkinson's Awareness Week (7-13 April), we are urging hospitals across the UK to work with us to help put people with Parkinson's back in control of their condition.

Hospitals can do this by arming themselves with basic information about the importance of timely medication.