Wrong Type of Care Wasting Cash; Preventative Treatment Is Way Forward

Article excerpt

Byline: Helen Rae

HEALTHCARE authorities in the North East are squandering up to pounds 1.3m a year on avoidable hospital treatment for people with muscle-wasting diseases, a leading group has warned.

The Muscular Dystrophy Campaign will present a report to health ministers at Westminster tomorrow, which estimates almost 40% of the pounds 81m annual cost to the nation of emergency hospital care for people with muscle-wasting disease is unnecessary. In the region a total of pounds 3.5m would be slashed by half each year by investing in preventative treatment, such as physiotherapy support and care advisers for patients with the disease, the group has said.

Father-of-two Patrick Bailly has an eight-year-old son, Pascal, who suffers from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy which restricts the strength in all his muscles and leaves him requiring a wheelchair to get around.

Mr Bailly, 45, of Nookside, Sunderland, is calling for North East health leaders to commit to funding for vital specialist muscle-wasting disease care advisers, as well as physiotherapy support, for the 3,000 patients in the region.

The caretaker, who is married to Linda, 41, and also has son Lawrence, 14, said: "In my view health authorities have a false sense of economy and are not investing enough in the right kind of care for patients.

"We are very lucky to have a neuromuscular centre for excellence in the North East, but the services around it have been totally neglected.

"It is highly stressful coping with our situation and we have to fight every inch to get Pascal what equipment he needs.

"It is unacceptable that families are in a constant battle to get the help they require and there should be investment made into providing more care advisers for patients.

"Without attention to community services such as specialist physiotherapy and respiratory care, my son and many other patients across the region will struggle to get the kind of support they need to keep them well and keep them out of hospital. …