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MP throws weight behind families’ campaign to end waste of NHS funds 

May 12th 2011

North Thanet MP Roger Gale has pledged to back local families affected by devastating muscle-wasting disease in their fight for specialist services, which they say would change lives while saving the NHS £millions in costs.

The health service is wasting £31million each year on distressing emergency hospital treatment for muscle-wasting disease patients that could have been entirely avoided through proper access to specialist care and equipment, according to a report published on Wednesday (11 May) in Parliament by a national charity.

The Muscular Dystrophy Campaign’s report Invest to Save estimates that nearly 40 per cent of the £81million annual cost of emergency hospital care for the UK’s the 70,000 people affected by muscle-wasting diseases is unnecessary and is a direct result of failure to invest adequately in ongoing treatment to manage the conditions.*
It is estimated that as much as £5.7 million is spent on emergency hospital admissions for people with muscle disease in the South East Coast region alone.
This week Roger Gale MP met local patient Mark Bishop and family members  as they gathered at Westminster to present the report to Health Minister Paul Burstow and to call for immediate action to address the waste.
Commenting on the report, Roger said:
“I was shocked to hear about difficulties faced by patients and families in accessing the specialist muscle-wasting disease care they so clearly require. I am offering my full support for improvements in health care for people in my constituency and across the country, which would save the NHS money while changing lives.”
Attending the event in Parliament, local campaigners and constituents Sue and Mark Bishop said:
“Muscle-wasting diseases are rare and GPs, hospital staff and physiotherapists often know little about them. We need support and advice from people who fully understand our conditions and how to treat them. I was delighted to meet Roger again at the reception and to have the opportunity to tell him why specialist care is so important to us.  His support for the Invest to Save campaign is absolutely crucial in ensuring that we see desperately needed improvements to specialist care for people with muscle-wasting diseases become a reality.”
The Muscular Dystrophy Campaign’s Director of Care, Support and Campaigns, Nic Bungay, said:
“We are delighted to have the support of Roger Gale MP in our campaign for investment in services to improve health care and save money.  He is a powerful voice in Parliament for local patients and families living with muscle-wasting diseases.”
Backed by a group of leading clinicians**, the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign argues that investing as little as £65 per patient each year***, in frontline health services and equipment would significantly reduce critical care on hospital wards costing up to £1,925 per day. The charity is now calling for a full national audit of emergency care for people with muscle-wasting conditions, to address the wasted funds.
The Invest to Save report follows major reviews of muscle-wasting disease care in Scotland, Wales and England, where existing services were criticised as “inadequate and  unacceptable”****. It has found that a lack of ongoing specialist support including access to expert care advisors, consultants and specialist physiotherapy is having a significant impact on
both the length and frequency of hospital visits. The key findings include:

  • Patients’ muscle-wasting disease conditions have been significantly and permanently worsened by lack of timely access to appropriate treatment

  • Nearly 40 per cent of patients admitted to hospital in emergency circumstances said that this could have been prevented through specialist treatments

  • Patients report that a lack of understanding of their conditions among general health professionals is putting their health at risk

  • Patients are being put at risk by a postcode lottery on specialist respiratory care

The Muscular Dystrophy Campaign is the leading UK charity focusing on muscle-wasting disease. It has pioneered the search for treatments and cures for more than 50 years, and is dedicated to improving the lives of all children and adults affected by muscle disease.
We fund world-class research to find effective treatments and cures; provide practical information, advice and emotional support for individuals, their families and carers; campaign to raise awareness and bring about change; award grants towards the cost of specialist equipment; and provide specialist education and development for health professionals.

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