HEALTH campaigners have accused Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust of ignoring calls to invest in expert care for people with muscular dystrophy.
National charity Muscular Dystrophy UK says the Trust is failing to fund a vital ‘care advisor’ role, leaving patients vulnerable to severe health complications as their care can become disjointed.
The charity states care advisors provide specialist practical and emotional support beyond that which general healthcare staff can provide. They also offer advice and information, work with other local health professionals, and provide support in the long gaps between specialist appointments.
The charity claims across the Yorkshire and Humber region, £2.8 million is wasted every year on avoidable hospital admissions for sufferers and says savings can be made by giving individuals with muscle-wasting conditions better access to coordinated care through a neuromuscular care advisor.
Nic Bungay, director of campaigns, care and information, Muscular Dystrophy UK said: “We have had vague promises for years in West Yorkshire about this role but there is still no real progress on providing the funding and recruitment.
"It is ridiculous that we continue to see money wasted on avoidable emergency care while patients are left struggling alone until they are rushed into hospital. Beyond the cost, emergency admissions cause real physical and psychological effects for people with muscle-wasting conditions.
"Failure by the Trust to invest a small amount in a care advisor simply has too big a price tag.”
A 2012 NHS audit estimated that 40 per cent of hospital admissions can be prevented if patients are given better access to coordinated care. Nationally, the UK wastes £31 million a year on avoidable hospital admissions for individuals with muscle-wasting conditions.
Responding to the criticism, Bradford Teaching Hospitals’ directorate manager for speciality medicine, Simon Kirk, said: “The Trust has met with Muscular Dystrophy UK to discuss their recommendations and will continue to take a lead role in developing and providing neuro-muscular services for patients across West Yorkshire, in partnership with Leeds Teaching Hospitals.
“Our patients already benefit from a wide range of specialist services – including a children’s care advisor - and recent achievements include securing funding for and appointing a specialist neuro-muscular physiotherapist.
“Following work done with NHS England, it is recognised that care advisor provision for adults is an area requiring development and the Trust is currently working in partnership with Leeds Teaching Hospitals to address this.”