Mary leads fight for life-saving breathing machine

North Tyneside MP, Mary Glindon, is warning of alarming problems for patients with muscle disease needing a life-saving breathing machine.

Mary Glindon met with Health Minister, Paul Burstow MP, this week alongside campaigners and leading UK charity, the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign.

Mary was joined by campaigner Jon Hastie, who has battled his local Primary Care Trust in Sussex for access to this life-saving ‘cough assist’ machine.  The Minister was pressed on why some patients in the South face such a stressful fight with their Primary Care Trust for this essential piece of equipment, whilst in North Tyneside there are no such battles.

Jon Hastie (31) has the life-shortening condition Duchenne muscular dystrophy, which causes muscles to waste and weaken over time. He told the Health Minister that cough assist machines help to ward off potentially fatal chest infections in patients with neuromuscular conditions, and reduce emergency admissions to hospital. While the UK’s leading specialists back the equipment and recommend it for their patients, many Primary Care Trusts are refusing to fund the £4,700 apparatus for home-use. However, the equipment is routinely used to treat patients with chest infections while in hospital.

Mary Glindon MP commented:

“I told the Minister to look at the North East and learn the lessons from the Newcastle Centre for Life.  It’s shocking that some Primary Care Trusts in the South are refusing funding for this vital piece of life saving equipment.

“Cough assist machines not only save lives – they also save the NHS money by keeping people out of hospital. Our meeting with the Health Minister was productive and I’m pleased he’s taking action on this important issue.

Jon Hastie said after the meeting:
“I wanted the Minister to hear from someone with first-hand experience of using a cough assist machine exactly why this piece of equipment is so vital both to my health and that of others with a severe neuromuscular condition – especially with winter approaching.”

Nic Bungay, Director of Campaigns, Care and Support at the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign said:
“We are told time and time again that using a cough assist machine is keeping patients out of hospital. However, obtaining this piece of equipment, which costs just a few thousand pounds, can be an uphill struggle. Any savings made by refusing to supply people like Jon with this life-saving piece of equipment, will be paid back many times over by his NHS hospital trust through future emergency care.

“We greatly appreciate the invaluable and powerful support of Mary Glindon on this issue and sincerely hope that the Minister will take the necessary steps towards ending this unacceptable obstacle in patient care.”



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