Nottingham

Call for more Lincolnshire neurological nurses

A lack of specialist neurological nurses is affecting the treatment of patients and wasting NHS money, campaigners have claimed.

The Lincolnshire Neurological Alliance said just five nurses were available in the county to deal with conditions like Parkinson's disease and MS.

They believe this means it takes longer for people to get the right treatment, which wastes NHS time and resources.

United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust said it was reviewing the situation.

It added it was developing neurology services within Lincolnshire, and looking at increasing the use of specialist nurses within all aspects of the service in the coming months.

'Unnecessary admissions'

Hilary Boone, chair of the alliance, said neurological patients count for 10% of emergency admissions and GP consultations, and therefore such nurses would save time and money.

She said: "If you have a problem and you do not have a specialist nurse, you have to go to your GP, who makes an appointment to get the problem sorted.

"Whereas if there was a specialist nurse on hand, there is someone you can ring who has probably seen this problem many times before with other patients and who can give you a quick answer or refer you to the right person."

Dr David Bateman, a consultant neurologist who chaired a study into national neurology services, said the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) had underlined the problem.

"NICE recommends that for a population of 500,000 people there should be 3 MS nurses, 3 Parkinson's disease nurses and 9 epilepsy nurses.

"So these specialist nurses are fundamental to looking after patients with chronic neurological conditions.

"They have revolutionised their care, improved it substantially, they prevent unnecessary admissions to hospital and have been demonstrated to be very good value for money."

Lincolnshire has a population of about 700,000, according to the Office for National Statistics.

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