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Vital nurse position to disappear

Funding for the role of New South Wales and Queensland specialist Parkinson’s nurses is set to run out in the next three months, sparking a renewed calling for government support to continue the service. 

Based on the research that shows the positive impact the specialist nurses provide patients, carers and families, Parkinson’s NSW is calling for this to be a priority for the state government.

“The impressive list of benefits that a specialist Parkinson’s nurse brings, including delayed entrance to aged care facilities and reduced anxiety for patients and carers, reiterates the need for this essential service,” said Miriam Dixon, CEO of Parkinson’s NSW, “Especially in the context of rural and remote areas of New South Wales where medical personnel are already under strain and under resourced.”

Professor Simon Lewis from The Brain and Mind Research Institute agreed saying the positions must remain intact.

“Specialist nurses form the vital link between families who have been affected by Parkinson’s disease and all of the health and welfare providers they need access to,” Lewis said.

In international research where specialist nurses are available, benefits include reduced need for GP appointments, reduced unplanned hospital admissions and reduced time that patients are hospitalised.

“These improvements in care offer a significant cost saving of over $400,000 (£270,000) per year by improving health outcomes,” Lewis said.

“It is critical that the Government invests now before the problem becomes overwhelming.”

Parkinson’s disease costs the Australian economy $8 billion per annum. With an ageing nation, the number of cases of Parkinson’s disease has been predicted to rise by 80% over the next 20 years.

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