Wife of Parkinson's patient waiting year to see neurologist says trust has forsaken him
A year after the only specialist Parkinson's consultant left his clinic at Altnagelvin Hospital, one woman said people with the illness are worse off than ever.
Mary Hamilton, whose husband Ernie was diagnosed with the degenerative condition, said he was still waiting to see a neurologist and has now lost the support of the Parkinson's nurse, who retired and has not been replaced.
A neurologist who has a clinic in Belfast previously came to Altnagelvin once a month to see patients from the Western Trust area. But that stopped a year ago.
At the time the Western Trust said it would work with the Belfast Trust to "find a solution", but Mrs Hamilton says she feels she and her husband have been abandoned.
She explained: "When my husband was first diagnosed with Parkinson's five years ago he was able to see the specialist Parkinson's consultant, attend the Western Trust's occupational and physiotherapy clinic, and there was the Parkinson's nurse that we could contact when we needed to.
"All that has gone now and my husband has had to go into a nursing home, which broke my heart. I tried so hard to keep him at home but I am in my 70s too and my three daughters don't live near us, so they took the decision it was best for both of us.
"I keep thinking if I had the support that was there five years ago I may have been able to keep Ernie at home and look after him, but I feel they (the trust) have forgotten about us altogether. I know we can't be the only people who are in this position but when you are in the middle of something it is hard to cope, especially when the Western Trust doesn't seem to be bothering."
The trust had not replied to a request for comment at the time of going to press.