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Bringing Parkinson’s support closer to home

With over 93% of neurologists located in major cities, gaining access to specialised care for patients living with Parkinson’s Disease and other movement disorders in regional and rural communities can be challenging.

To improve access to high quality care that is closer to home the Primary Health Network is pleased to have been funded by the Australian Government’s Department of Health to pilot a project that will provide training and support for local GPs and other health professionals.

CEO for the PHN Richard Nankervis said “Our aim is to improve understanding of neurological movement disorders in primary care through education and training for primary care practitioners whilst also providing individualised support for patients and their families and carers around how to best manage their condition”

Member for New England Barnaby Joyce who has been lobbying for improved care options for regional and rural patients living with Parkinson’s Disease was particularly pleased with the announcement.

“Rural Australians need to have local clinicians living and working in their local communities. People living with Parkinson’s disease want to access services near to where they live, they shouldn’t have to wait and travel long distances to metropolitan areas to get support.”

“I’m also really pleased that the pilot program is providing an opportunity for our local doctors and health professionals to work with the expertise provided by Parkinsons NSW and Charles Sturt University. Just as patients don’t want to travel long distances for treatment our local clinicians don’t want to have to travel hundreds of kilometres to access the latest evidence and advice ”

Mr Joyce was speaking at the Rural Fit Functional Clinic and Rural Fit Exercise and Performance Centre were the new program was launched with members from Tamworth Parkinson’s Support Group – “The Movers and Shakers”.

The model of care will be codesigned with local stakeholders and in consultation with Parkinson’s NSW, Associate Professor Rachel Rossiter from Charles Sturt University and the Australasian Neuroscience Nurses Association ( Movement Disorder Chapter) who are all active partners in the implementation of the pilot.

Parkinson’s NSW CEO, Jo-Anne Reeves, says “ There is 37 new cases of Parkinson’s disease diagnosed in Australia every day, many of those people live in regional and rural areas so it is vital that we have models of care that can delivered close to where people live”

“We welcome the opportunity to work with the Primary Health Network to develop a model of care that will benefit both patients and clinicians in rural and regional communities”

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