I strongly agree that we must ensure the more than 120,000 people with Parkinson’s disease are able to access the necessary treatment, care and services to live a fulfilled and independent life.
I can fully appreciate the impact of delays in treatment and care on people living with Parkinson’s Disease caused by the pandemic. The Government is committed to tackling this backlog of care, with £5.9 billion funding for the NHS recently announced as part of Spending Review 2021.
Access to high-quality adult social care is crucial for the effective care of people living with Parkinson’s disease and other long-term conditions. The Government has published a Social Care White Paper with proposals to increase Disabled Facilities Grants and improve access to aids and adaptations to support people to live independently in their own homes.
Research into Parkinson’s disease is vital to improving understanding more about the condition and discovering new treatments that can improve quality of life. I applaud the work of Parkinson’s UK in investing over £100 million in research to support new discoveries, develop new treatments and fund clinical trials. In the Spending Review 2021, £5 billion investment in Research and Development was pledged as part of the Government’s commitment to spend £20 billion in this area by 2024-25.
World Parkinson's Day provides an important opportunity to highlight issues affecting people living with Parkinson's Disease. I am grateful to Parkinson's UK for their tireless advocacy and support for those affected and their families, including in South West Bedfordshire.
Therefore, I welcome the Parkinson's UK drop-in session for MPs. I am planning to attend the drop-in session, Parliamentary business permitting, and look forward to understanding more about the experiences of people affected by Parkinson's Disease.
Furthermore, I recognise that Parkinson’s UK has supported a number of amendments to the Health and Care Bill for more regular reporting on workforce need, NHS Continuing Healthcare and increasing patient voice in decision making. The Bill is now progressing through the House of Lords, and I will continue to monitor its progress, including on the issues raised by these amendments.
I am also grateful to Parkinson’s UK for highlighting the impact of Parkinson’s related dementia in their “Nobody Really Knows Us” report.
The Social Care White Paper states the £500 million investment in the social care workforce will be used to support training and professional development in a number of ways.
I would encourage Parkinson’s UK and other patient groups to engage with these projects, including the Knowledge and Skills Framework for the social care workforce that will be developed over the next year. There will also be Continuous Professional Development (CPD) budgets available for healthcare professionals, and funding for care certificates.
More broadly, in November 2021, the Government announced £375m investment to fund research into a range of for neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s related dementia. This will help improve understanding of Parkinson’s disease dementia and support the development of new treatments.