By Charlotte Webster-
A new report has revealed that patients with Parkinson’s disease in English hospitals are being placed at considerable risk due to delays in receiving their crucial medication.
The study, conducted by Parkinson’s UK, found that 58% of individuals with Parkinson’s who were admitted to hospitals in England last year did not receive their medication on time during their stay.
Parkinson’s disease is a debilitating condition characterized by the progressive deterioration of certain brain regions, resulting in symptoms such as involuntary shaking, slow movement, and stiff and inflexible muscles. While there is no cure for the disease, several medications are available to help alleviate its symptoms.
Parkinson’s UK emphasizes that medication timing is “critical” for individuals with this condition, as even a 30-minute delay can mean the difference between functioning well and experiencing significant difficulty in moving, walking, talking, or swallowing.
In addition to surveying patients, the charity conducted freedom of information requests with English hospitals.
The results revealed that one in four (26%) NHS trusts lacks policies allowing people with Parkinson’s to self-administer their medication while in the hospital.
Furthermore, only half (52%) of these trusts require staff responsible for prescribing and administering medication to undergo training related to time-critical medication.
In order to address this pressing issue and ensure that hospitalized patients have timely access to their medications, Parkinson’s UK has called for several measures, including:
Implementation of medication self-administration policies where safe.
Enhanced training for staff regarding time-critical medication.
Improved use of e-prescribing systems to track medication timings.
Juliet Tizzard, Director of External Relations at Parkinson’s UK, emphasized the gravity of the situation: “Given the serious risk of harm to the health of a person with Parkinson’s and the numbers affected, we believe this should be a high-priority patient safety issue.
Not tackling this issue will hamper attempts to recover elective care services and cut waiting lists, and increase demand for social care services that are already under extreme pressure.”
Tizzard further stated, “We believe that no one should fear going into hospital, and we’re here to work with the NHS to make sure people who depend on time-critical medication see the hospital as a safe place to be. It is time to act now.”
In response, a spokesperson for NHS England acknowledged the responsibility of individual NHS trusts for their medicines policies.
They highlighted that NHS England has commissioned a range of resources and support for organizations on this issue, aiming to ensure timely medication delivery to patients in hospitals.
The report’s findings underscore the critical need for immediate action to safeguard the well-being of Parkinson’s patients during their hospital stays, emphasizing the urgency of addressing medication delays in order to enhance patient safety and overall healthcare services.