A charity say a West Yorkshire hospital trust are wasting cash and putting lives at risk.
Health campaigners have criticised Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust for ignoring calls to invest in expert care for people with muscular dystrophy in West Yorkshire.
They say the Trust is failing to fund a vital ‘care advisor’ role, leaving patients vulnerable to severe health complications as their care can become disjointed, say national charity Muscular Dystrophy UK.
Care advisors provide specialist practical and emotional support for individuals and families affected by these rare muscle-wasting conditions beyond what general healthcare staff can provide. They also offer advice and information, work with other local health professionals, and provide support in the long gaps between specialist appointments.
The charity add - across the Yorkshire and Humber region, £2.8 million is wasted every year on avoidable hospital admissions for people with muscle-wasting conditions. Savings can be made by giving individuals with muscle-wasting conditions better access to coordinated care through a neuromuscular care advisor.
People in almost every other part of the UK have access to one or more full time care advisors, yet in West Yorkshire there is so no such support. Adults in the region are having to rely on a care advisor in Leeds who works primarily with children. This one person has to provide support to over 2,000 people living with serious, degenerative neuromuscular conditions. By contrast, neighbouring South Yorkshire has just 1,300 people supported by two care advisors.
Nic Bungay, Director of Campaigns, Care and Information, Muscular Dystrophy UK said: “We have had vague promises for years in West Yorkshire about this role but there is still no real progress on providing the funding and recruitment.
"It is ridiculous that we continue to see money wasted on avoidable emergency care while patients are left struggling alone until they are rushed into hospital. Beyond the cost, emergency admissions cause real physical and psychological effects for people with muscle-wasting conditions. Failure by Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to invest a small amount in a care advisor simply has too big a price tag.”
Bradford Teaching Hospitals' Directorate Manager for Speciality Medicine, Simon Kirk, said: "The Trust has met with Muscular Dystrophy UK to discuss their recommendations and will continue to take a lead role in developing and providing neuro-muscular services for patients across West Yorkshire, in partnership with Leeds Teaching Hospitals.
"Our patients already benefit from a wide range of specialist services - including a children's care advisor - and recent achievements include securing funding for and appointing a specialist neuro-muscular physiotherapist.
"Following work done with NHS England, it is recognised that care advisor provision for adults is an area requiring development and the Trust is currently working in partnership with Leeds Teaching Hospitals to address this."