Skype appointments for Parkinson’s, MS and motor neurone disease could save the NHS £10m

Skyping patients was one of the measures that could save the NHS 10m
Skyping patients was one of the measures that could save the NHS 10m
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Doctors are being encouraged to hold Skype appointments with people who have brain and nerve conditions to help save £10m of NHS cash.

Experts hope it will also avoid up to 2,500 emergency admissions to hospital each year for people with multiple sclerosis, motor neurone disease and Parkinson's.

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Put together by the NHS and seven charities, the initiative recommends fast-tracked blood tests and consultant appointments over video call to help with faster diagnosis and better treatment.

It aims to help people with the conditions to better manage their symptoms at home and be more active in making decisions over their treatment.

Steve Ford, chief executive at Parkinson's UK, which contributed to the recommendations, said: "For too long, services have neglected progressive neurological conditions. This is as dangerous as it is unjust, putting people at higher risk simply because of the kind of condition they have.

"We are urging all Clinical Commissioning Groups to work with charities and implement the new toolkit, so they can make the changes so desperately needed to reduce hospital admissions and unlock these vital cost savings."

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Paru Naik, health professionals programme manager at the MS Trust, added: “Services have been failing people living with progressive neurological conditions for far too long. This inequality is simply not fair. This toolkit provides practical guidance to help clinical commissioning groups deliver the care and support people living with conditions like MS, Parkinson's and MND need and deserve, and ultimately reduce emergency hospital admissions for this group of people.”

NHS England said the recommendations would better join-up the different health professionals and organisations supporting each individual, and improve access to specialist physical and mental health care.

Dawn Chamberlain, programme director in clinical improvement at NHS England and NHS Improvement, said: "This is an opportunity for the NHS to work directly with patients and their families to deliver better care closer to home for the thousands of people with progressive neurological conditions.

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"Many areas are already providing high-quality care in line with best practice, and by supporting others to come up to the same standard, we can deliver faster, more joined-up and better care for thousands more people - supporting them to stay well in their own homes."

The Progressive Neurological Conditions Toolkit was created with the NHS RightCare team and Parkinson's UK, MS Society, MS Trust, MND Association, Sue Ryder, MSA Trust and PSP Association.