The Scottish Parliament debated our 2019 report on Parkinson's services and support on 30 April, after Parkinson's campaigners in Scotland sent more than 1,600 emails to MSPs asking them to support a debate.
MSPs backed all 13 of our report's recommendations. They called on Scottish Government to recognise the critical importance of Parkinson's care delivered by specialist consultants, Parkinson's nurses and multi-disciplinary teams.
While the Minister was supportive, we are keen to secure some more concrete commitments over the coming months.
MSPs highlighted issues with staff capacity in their own localities.
Miles Briggs MSP, who led the debate, talked about unacceptable consultant waiting times and the shortage of Parkinson's nurses in NHS Lothian, where three nurses support around 1,800 people with Parkinson's.
Kenneth Gibson MSP and Colin Smyth MSP raised the issue of consultant shortages in NHS Ayrshire and Arran – where one consultant is leading care for most of the population of 1,000 people with Parkinson's. Jackie Baillie MSP called for action to increase consultant and nurse posts in NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde.
Liam McArthur MSP talked about a constituent who became very unwell and could not be stabilised for some time until the remote Parkinson's nurse was able to visit from Aberdeen. He welcomed the work that Parkinson's UK Scotland is doing with local people and NHS Orkney to develop local care and support.
SUPPORT FOR THE PARKINSON’S COMMUNITY
It was inspiring to hear MSPs talk about the support that Parkinson's UK Scotland volunteers and staff provide for people in communities across the country, including tai chi, Zumba, boxing, pilates, social events, Parkinson's cafes and exercise classes.
The crucial role of the Parkinson's community in fundraising, promoting research and raising awareness were also highlighted.
Former athlete Brian Whittle MSP encouraged the Scottish Government to join charities like Parkinson's UK in "taking a swing" at neurological conditions, promoting more research and better care.
SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT RESPONSE
Public Health Minister Joe Fitzpatrick MSP responded positively to the debate, committing to continued work with Parkinson's UK and recognising the importance of specialist support.
"We expect people with neurological conditions such as Parkinson's to have access to a range of care and support professionals to ensure appropriate management of their condition. That includes specialist nurses."
We'll be working with MSPs and Scottish Government over the coming months to make sure that the needs of people with Parkinson's in Scotland are met.
Find out more about how you can get involved by emailing [email protected]