More than 12,000 Scots living with Parkinson's and numbers continue to rise

New figures from Parkinson's UK show that more than 12,000 Scots are now living with Parkinson's, and numbers are continuing to rise.

Across the UK, the number is expected to double within 50 years as the population grows and ages.

About 1 in every 375 adults in Scotland has Parkinson's. 

And in 2018, over 1,500 people in Scotland will be diagnosed with Parkinson's – about 30 people every week. 

The increases are being driven by the growing and ageing population in Scotland. 

Parkinson's UK in Scotland has warned that the rising numbers of people with Parkinson's will have significant impacts on already stretched health and social care services. We are calling on Scottish Government and service providers to ensure that they are ready to meet the extra demands that the increase in Parkinson's will bring.

We have mapped the impact of Parkinson's on individuals, families and NHS and social care services in Scotland. These figures are based on groups of people and cannot be generalised to apply to individuals. Everyone with Parkinson's is different, and not everyone experiences all of the symptoms of Parkinson’s.

For more information take a look at our infographic summarising the impact of Parkinson’s in Scotland here and our briefing for MSPs.

You can also see the full UK-wide report on prevalence and incidence.

Tanith Muller, Parliamentary and Campaigns Manager at Parkinson's UK in Scotland says:

"Parkinson's is a complex condition, that typically affects every area of a person's life. It has a huge impact on individuals, their families, carers, the NHS and the social care system."

"As people live longer and the number of people living with the condition increases, getting Parkinson's care and support right is essential. It's vital that our health and care service providers act now to ensure that services are in place to meet people’s needs."

Dr Carl Counsell, Honorary Consultant Neurologist at NHS Grampian and Clinical Reader at the University of Aberdeen, says:

"My colleagues and I are studying what happens over time to people who were diagnosed with Parkinson's in Aberdeen and the North East. Our research demonstrates that Parkinson's has a profound impact on health and wellbeing, particularly for those diagnosed at older ages.

"People with Parkinson's are 3 times more likely to experience a major fracture than people of the same age without the condition. And there are increased complications with dementia too - people with Parkinson's are 6 times more likely to develop dementia as people of the same age without the condition.

"5 years after being diagnosed, half needed some support with basic day-to-day activities like washing and dressing – and after a decade almost everyone did.

“People with Parkinson's have a very high risk of hospital admission. More often than not, these admissions are unplanned and lead to longer stays in hospital.

"In 2015-16 more than 4,000 people with Parkinson's were admitted to hospital in Scotland. On average they stayed almost 18 days. That's more than 75,000 bed days that already have to be resourced, and as the prevalence of Parkinson's increases, the demand for services is only going to increase. 

"Care and support from a team of health and social care professionals can help people with Parkinson's to live well with the condition, and reduce emergencies – but health and social care services must be in place."

Tanith Muller concluded:

"These alarming figures demonstrate that Scottish Government, and health and social care providers must commit resources to support the growing numbers of people with Parkinson’s now, and plan for increasing needs in the future."