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Motor neurone service's launch will be tonic for patients

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: August 12, 2014

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TREATMENT for motor neurone disease sufferers at a Swansea hospital is set to become more convenient with the launch of a new service.

Patients receiving treatment at Singleton Hospital will be able to see various specialists in one day - reducing the number of appointments needed - at a new one stop clinic.

The new clinic, introduced by Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University (ABMU) health board, has also started operating at Neath Port Talbot Hospital.

Patient Eddie Thomas, from Morriston, was diagnosed with the condition in 2010 and the new clinic means for him access to a range of specialists in a single appointment.

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"My appointments with the neurology consultant lasted about five minutes and would just check if my condition had changed,'' he said.

"Now at the new clinic, I see a range of specialists who see how well I am coping and look for early warnings that the disease is progressing.

"The appointments are very light-hearted, not at all doom and gloom, and the team is genuinely interested in my case.

"Also, rather than me having to move rooms to see the different specialists they each come to me in turn."

Previously patients would need to attend at various times or even travel to Cardiff to access the nearest clinic.

Palliative medicine consultant Dr Idris Baker said: "MND is a life-shortening disease, so it is essential that we help people have as good a quality of life as possible.

"As it progresses differently for each person, we can't always predict what their needs will be but through these joint clinics we can try to see changes in their condition before they become a real problem.

"We talk about the changes with the patient and discuss what equipment, treatment and support is available.

"They may not need anything straight away, but it is important we anticipate what they might need further along."

Ruth Glew, lead coordinator for the MND Care Network, added: "Some people need life-changing support, for example a wheelchair or a feeding tube, so it is important we talk about what to expect so the patient can consider what they want to do when the time comes.

"Together we plan for the future so patients have control of their care and feel prepared."

Eddie, aged 62, added: "As well as my health we address how things are at home and if any changes need to be made to help me manage.

"Also, the team looks forward with me. We talk about what I think I need to continue to manage and things to consider for the future.

"For example talking may become difficult in time, so the speech and language therapist suggested making voice recordings.

"It is a very proactive approach and even if I feel I am coping, the team may still be able to suggest ways to make life easier."

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