THE appointment of the first Parkinson’s nurse to work exclusively in Moray has been welcomed by the wife of a long-term sufferer of the condition.
Heidi Simpson will support patients of the progressive neurological illness in her new job as Parkinson’s Nurse Specialist (PNS) for Moray, which she starts later this month.
The part-time post was created in partnership between NHS Grampian and the Parkinson’s UK charity, which raises funds and awareness to help research into finding a cure.
Members of the Elgin and District Parkinson’s Support Group had been campaigning for a Moray-based specialist nurse, as the existing PNS for the area was based in Aberdeen and had to cover the entire Highlands and Islands.
Chair of the Elgin group, Elsie Watson, is a carer for her husband, John, who has had Parkinson’s for 30 years. She said Moray had been crying out for its own specialist, and this appointment was a major step forward.
“I am absolutely delighted,” she said. “I just wish this had happened years ago when I was struggling to get help and support for my husband.
“John will be 70 on his birthday, and he has had Parkinson’s since he was 40,” she said. “Thirty years ago there was little support for us, but the advances we have seen in that time have been tremendous.
“We have now got someone in Moray who is easily accessible to us. That is going to be a help to me personally as a carer of someone with Parkinson’s, and members of the local support group will know where they can go now for more help and advice.”
Around 160 people in Moray have Parkinson’s disease, which kills off nerve cells in the brain and causes a chemical deficiency, leading to sufferers’ movements becoming slower. Other symptoms include tremors, rigidity, fatigue, pain and depression.See Northern Scot print version for full story.