Hundreds of Horsham patients to be ‘left in the lurch’ as nursing service withdrawn

Hundreds of Horsham patients will be ‘left in the lurch’ when nursing services are withdrawn from the area, according to a charity.

Thursday, 30th January 2020, 1:06 pm
Updated Thursday, 30th January 2020, 5:05 pm

The Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead currently provides a Parkinson’s Disease Nurse specialist service to around 500 patients in Horsham, Crawley and East Grinstead, according to the chairman of Parkinson’s UK’s Horsham branch, Paul Dodd.

But he said several of its members had been sent a letter telling them the nurse, who offers advice on medication and symptoms, would no longer cover the Horsham area from February 1.

Paul slammed the decision as appalling.

Dorothy Hatfield who is living with parkinsons is concerned about the loss of a dedicated parkinsons nurse. Pic Steve Robards SR20012901 SUS-200129-105115001

He said: “It definitely will lead to a poorer quality of life for Parkinson’s sufferers in Horsham.

“It’s completely unacceptable.”

Paul said patients are currently able to call the nurse for advice, but under the new system will have to speak to the Community Neuro Rehabilitation team, who will respond within 48 hours.

But a spokeswoman for Horsham and Mid Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group said Horsham patients who need specialist Parkinson’s care will now be seen by neurological specialist therapists as part of a multi-disciplinary team from Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust (SCFT), rather than QVH.

The move will affect 205 Parkinson’s sufferers in Horsham.

Maplehurst resident and branch member Dorothy Hatfield said the decision made her feel ‘very unhappy and rather vulnerable’.

She added: “This is going to put extra strain onto GPs. When somebody has a problem they’re to be told that GPs are their first line of trying to solve it.”

Dorothy said the nurse had proved ‘extremely useful’ to her in the past.

“Several times she provided excellent advice.

“She actually suggested the diagnosis in the first place. I was referred to her before I was referred to a neurologist.

“She was able to ensure that I was seen by the neurologist very rapidly.

“The nurse has been a great support.”

Paul said that when the service is withdrawn sufferers ‘might as well look [problems] up on the internet’.

He added: “It will increase the load on GP surgeries. The whole thing is really pretty appalling.”

The CCG spokeswoman said: “QVH teams will continue to provide care for patients in East Grinstead and Crawley. The change was made in light of increasing numbers of patients living with Parkinson’s Disease in need of specialist care and support, to make sure all those who need it are able to access safe and effective care.

“The SCFT multi-disciplinary team already work with patients with Parkinson’s Disease and from February 1 will provide support for any non-urgent matters. Patients will be given telephone and email contact details. Any urgent medication advice or complex reviews will continue to be provided directly by the patient’s hospital consultant.”