The Parkinson's Excellence Network has received an additional £2 million investment from Parkinson’s UK to be used over the next 3 years on improving Parkinson’s services and access to allied health professionals for people with Parkinson’s across the UK.
This funding will look at new ways of working with the NHS and local commissioners to address some of the workforce shortages and service challenges which have heightened since COVID-19.
To date, the Excellence Network has pump primed 320 specialist Parkinson’s nurse posts across the UK for 2 years with the condition that local commissioners continue funding beyond that period. This additional funding aims to use a similar method to pump prime up to 24 specialist Parkinson’s allied health professionals across disciplines such as physiotherapy, speech and language therapy, occupational health and mental health.
Alongside these multidisciplinary posts, the Excellence Network will be launching a new grant scheme to fund Parkinson’s service improvement initiatives.
Dr Rowan Wathes, Associate Director of the Parkinson’s Excellence Network said:
“The Parkinson’s workforce is overstretched and many staff are telling us they are at breaking point. They have been working tirelessly during the pandemic and are now facing an overwhelming demand for their services. This calls for unprecedented steps from the charity. Prior to the pandemic, we knew Parkinson’s care needed investment, but the pandemic has turned the once tiny cracks in services into awning fissures and there are now huge backlogs.
“Our kickstarter funding is not about a financial quick-fix to address the backlog, but a strategic investment to support innovative ways of working and provide crucial multidisciplinary care to people with Parkinson’s. The clock is ticking. We want to highlight to NHS commissioners the urgency of the second ‘hidden’ pandemic we are now facing. People with Parkinson’s have told us that their symptoms have increased and they have become more isolated due to lack of access to vital services during the pandemic. Managing Parkinson’s will now be more complex and people will require more intensive treatment because their care has been delayed for two years. Our community cannot wait.”
Outgoing Clinical Director of the Excellence Network Dr Donald Grosset, said:
"NHS England has published plans on how health services should recover, however they focus on addressing the cancer and surgery backlogs. Neurology and Parkinson’s aren’t even mentioned. We are taking the initiative now and working with health professionals across the whole of the UK to support and grow the workforce to drive up the quality of care."
Excellence Network funding opportunities
Are you a health or social care professional or student looking for financial support for an educational course? Or perhaps you’re a UK health and social care service looking for funds for a new clinical post or a service improvement project? The Excellence Network has grant opportunities to suit you.