A charity and an MSP have called on a north-east health board to boost its service for people with Parkinson’s.
NHS Grampian employs five Parkinson’s nurses to cover the north-east and also Shetland and Orkney.
Parkinson’s UK called them “outstanding”, but joined Orkney MSP Liam McArthur in calling for the NHS to employ a Parkinson’s nurse to cover Shetland and Orkney.
New figures show one in 10 patients seen by the five nurses in April are from Shetland or Orkney and they often have to fly there, limiting the number of appointments they can attend in the north-east.
Mr McArthur called on a change for the benefit of those in the Northern Isles and in the north-east.
He said: “We rely on a Parkinson’s nurse based in Aberdeen and who does what she can to provide excellent support, but on-going support at such a distance presents challenges.”
He described the current state of affairs as “simply not good enough” but welcomed an NHS review which started in February.
Parkinson’s UK’s Scotland director Annie Macleod said: “As with most areas of Scotland, there are not enough Parkinson’s nurses in Grampian to provide the expert support required for people with Parkinson’s, especially given that numbers will rise by a fifth in the next decade, so servicing the needs of people in the Northern Isles too creates a huge burden and it isn’t sustainable.
“We appreciate the commitment and care offered by healthcare professionals in Grampian.
“They do an outstanding job but the model of Parkinson’s support they are providing to the Northern Isles is not sustainable and must be changed.”
An NHS Grampian spokeswoman said: “Our specialist nurses do a marvellous job managing their caseloads across Grampian and the Northern Isles. We have been reviewing every aspect of neurology and its associated services.
“We are aware of the challenges, particularly around workforce, that impact on the patients waiting longer than we’d like to be seen.”