Support for sufferers of wasting disease

SUFFERERS from the terminal muscle-wasting illness motor neurone disease in Harrogate will be able to get specialist support at home with the first scheme of its kind in the area.

A new partnership between St Michael's Hospice in Harrogate and the Yorkshire Dales branch of the Motor Neurone Disease Association (MNDA), has enabled them to employ the area's first motor neurone disease specialist for patients in the area.

The professional will visit patients in their own homes and at the hospice, offering practical and emotional care to improve their quality of life, independence, sense of security and dignity.

The chief executive of St Michael's, Tony Collins, said: "For some time people living locally with this illness have not had access to all the services they need. "But thanks to this partnership local patients have, for the first time, got access to dedicated specialist support on their doorstep.

"The St Michael's MNDA collaboration aims to ensure that the resources and knowledge that are available have the greatest impact locally.

"There is a perception that hospices only help people living with cancer but that is not the case, our services are free and available to anyone living with any terminal illness."

Motor neurone disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that attacks the upper and lower motor neurones leading to weakness and wasting of muscles, causing increasing loss of mobility in the limbs, and difficulties with speech, swallowing and breathing.

The chairman of the Yorkshire Dales branch of the MNDA, Tony Gould, said: "We are delighted to be in partnership with St Michael's to sponsor this very important post." "What is vital is that we work with MND patients themselves to shape a service that is right for them."

Currently, there are about 6,000 people suffering from the disease in the UK.