Llanelli’s Assembly Member Lee Waters has called on the local Health Board to consult with patients about planning treatment for the management of Parkinson’s disease.
Following a Senedd event to raise awareness of the condition, Lee Waters met up with Llanelli residents Bryan and Dilys Kinnear, members of Parkinson’s UK Llanelli branch, to find out more about their personal experience of living with Parkinson’s, and what support is available in the local area.
Parkinson’s disease, a condition in which parts of the brain become more and more damaged over many years, has symptoms of tremors, slow movement and stiff muscles. It can also cause patients tother physical and psychological symptoms, such as depression and anxiety.
The Assembly Member said:
“I was struck by what Bryan and Dilys told me about the benefits of physiotherapy, as well as speech, language and occupational therapy in helping people with Parkinson’s disease to remain as active as possible. Making sure that these are accessible from the earliest stage of diagnosis is vital to patients’ continued well-being.”
After meeting Mr. and Mrs. Kinnear, Lee Waters raised the issue of available therapies with Steve Moore, Chief Executive of Hywel Dda Health Board. “Parkinson’s disease cannot yet be cured but having access to quality therapy, such as physical therapy, can promote independence and dramatically improve people’s quality of life. It can even provide pain relief.”
Mr. Moore wrote to Lee Waters, and agreed to work with those affected by Parkinson’s. Mr Moore stated:
“The perspectives of patients, families and carers are important and we would welcome the views of people with Parkinson’s disease to help us inform how best to improve community services.”
This month, Lee Waters visited the group to provide feedback of his communication with the Health Board and, as well as participating in a Tai Chi session, he was able to discuss informally with members their experiences of Hywel Dda’s current provision of therapies. He was also able to talk about the Health Board’s new Independent Living Centre to be opened in Llanelli. This centre will provide advice to support living with a long term condition and a wide range of assistive equipment.
Bryan Kinnear, who arranged for the Assembly Member to visit the Local group, said:
“It was great for Lee to see what a close-knit, friendly group we are. He took the time to listen to everyone’s concerns and I’m sure that he found the Tai Chi very relaxing.”
Lee Waters added:
“I am very pleased that Hywel Dda have agreed to work with people who have Parkinson’s disease and to listen to their views about what they need. Often decisions about health care are made with very little consultation – this is an excellent first step in opening up a constructive dialogue.”