Call for GP support for newly diagnosed patients with Parkinson's

The Parkinson's Disease Society (PDS) is calling on GPs all over the UK to give out a new DVD to support patients who have recently found out they have Parkinson's.

The Parkinson's Disease Society (PDS) is calling on GPs all over the UK to give out a new DVD to support patients who have recently found out they have Parkinson's. 

Although the diagnosis should be made by a specialist, most patients will visit their GP for an appointment shortly after being diagnosed.  They may have a number of questions and concerns, such as what Parkinson's is, what treatments are available and how they can maintain an active lifestyle, or be struggling to accept that they have the condition.

Accepting the diagnosis of this progressive neurological condition can be difficult and patients need to be given honest and realistic information. 

Eight out of 10 people (82%) in this situation want advice or information from their doctor, according to a recent Ipsos MORI survey of Britain. But a recent PDS members consultation exercise found that three in five people (60%) said they received limited or no information at diagnosis.

This gap is leaving more than half of the 10,000 people diagnosed with Parkinson's each year facing their future without the information and support which may help them feel less alone and able to live and cope better with their Parkinson's.

The PDS has today (April 16) launched a new free DVD, Being There.  Featuring interviews with people with Parkinson's, carers, and some of the UK's top Parkinson's experts, the DVD answers the questions and concerns raised by people newly diagnosed with the condition.

Steve Ford, Chief Executive of the PDS, said: "People living with Parkinson's have a right to high quality information, when and where they need it.  Coping with the shock of a Parkinson's diagnosis and coming to terms with having a long-term neurological condition will be different for everyone and people will want different amounts of information.

"This is why the PDS has produced this new DVD - it contains the information people need, in an easy to use format. We have also launched a new website to help people to find the information they need 24 hours a day.  This new site includes an online forum to provide a support network for people newly diagnosed with Parkinson's.

"As GPs are seen as a trusted source of information and often have long-standing relationships with their patients we hope they will give out the DVD and direct patients to the website.  In a survey by the PDS more than 9 of 10 GPs admitted to having no specialist knowledge of Parkinson's, so our new DVD will be an invaluable resource to them as it will reassure them that patients' questions and concerns can be answered."

The PDS is calling on all healthcare professionals involved in the management of Parkinson's - from specialists and GPs to specialist nurses and therapists - to give out the DVD to each patient with Parkinson's they see.

Dr Carl Clarke, Reader in Clinical Neurology at the University of Birmingham, who features in he DVD, said: "Communicating a diagnosis of Parkinson's to patients is extremely important. It's vital to treat people sensitively and provide them with the information they need at this difficult time, whether they use the information at the point of diagnosis or later on.

"This DVD is a really useful resource because people can take it away and dip in and out of the various different sections when they are ready.  It's very informative and the people with Parkinson's features really give viewers hope that a diagnosis of Parkinson's isn't the end."

The PDS has a broad range of information resources available on all aspects of living with Parkinson's, a free Helpline staffed by specialist nurses and social care experts, and a brand new website, also launched today, featuring a forum to provide an online support network.

To order a copy of the DVD email:

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