Peter Treseder AO MNCLHD Governing Board Chair, Dr Victor Fung Director of the Movement Disorders Unit at Westmead Hospital, Cassandra Carswell MNCLHD Movement Disorder Service, Dr Hugo Morales Briceno, Jill Wong MNCLHD Director Integrated Care Allied Health and Community Services, Jody Lloyd MNCLHD Parkinson’s Clinical Nurse Consultant, Vince Carroll MNCLHD Movement Disorder Service, Jenny Zirkler MNCLHD Board Member.

Gold standard in care for people living with movement disorders

Sep 11, 2023

People living with Parkinson’s and other movement disorders, their families and carers are set to benefit from a new Movement Disorder Specialist Service based at Coffs Harbour, which has been officially launched today.

Mid North Coast Local Health District’s acting Chief Executive Lydia Dennett said the service is bringing gold-standard care to people living with Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders on the Mid North Coast.

“Mid North Coast Local Health District has partnered with Western Sydney Local Health District and Parkinson’s NSW to establish the new model of care, which will make a big difference for people living with movement disorders like Parkinson’s disease,” Ms Dennett said.

“This means patients in and around Coffs Harbour now have access to the best movement disorder specialists in the world right on their doorstep. It’s a great example of how our networked health system is working to improve patient care right across the State.”

The term ‘movement disorders’ refers to a group of neurological conditions that cause either increased movements or reduced or slow movements. Parkinson’s disease is a common movement disorder.

The service will operate as a hybrid hub and spoke model with Movement Disorder Specialist Dr. Hugo Morales Briceno, seeing patients in face-to-face clinics and via telehealth consults, supported by a Parkinson’s Clinical Nurse Consultant in Coffs Harbour.

Director of the Movement Disorders Unit at Westmead Hospital, Dr Victor Fung, said the innovative program is leading the way in clinical service delivery and will also provide research opportunities along the way.

“Our goal at Westmead is to support rural and regional areas of NSW. The reality is that 93 per cent of specialists reside in metropolitan areas, leaving only seven per cent in rural and regional Australia. With this service, we’re aiming to bridge that gap,” Dr Fung said.

“As part of this program, specialists will also work to connect patients with clinical studies and emerging therapies.”

Parkinson’s Clinical Nurse Consultant Vince Carroll said the service supports patients to take control of their movement disorder and optimise their quality of life.

“Movement disorder specialists provide personalised medicine, care is individualised for the patient, and various strands of treatment are considered, including linking patients with allied health professionals such as physical, exercise, occupational, dance and speech therapists to make their day-to-day life more manageable,” Mr Carroll said.

Acting Chief Executive Officer of Parkinson’s NSW Mary Kay Walker said the prevalence of Parkinson’s increases significantly after age 65 and could take years to diagnose.

“Parkinson’s is a progressive, degenerative condition of the central nervous system which affects the brain’s ability to control movement and may also be associated with other symptoms including mood, depression, and anxiety. Its causes are unknown, and a cure has not yet been found,” Ms Walker said.

The first face-to-face clinic of the Coffs Harbour-based Movement Disorder Specialist Service was held in April 2023.

Patients can be referred to the Movement Disorder Specialist Service by their GP.

An education evening for GPs and health professionals will be held on Thursday, 21 September, to provide an overview of the new Movement Disorders service, including information about how to refer patients.

For more information, call 6659 2333.

Scroll through the images to view the launch.


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