A passion for Parkinson’s

by Dr Robin Fackrell

FackrellI attended the inaugural SpR Masterclass at the Knowledge Spa in Cornwall and this was really my first foray in to the world of Parkinson’s. Having had my interest significantly piqued by the MasterClass I began my journey of developing an expertise in Movement Disorders.

I became a trainee representative on the British Geriatric Society Movement Disorder Specialist Interest Group which enabled me to have a better insight into how Parkinson’s services were being run across the UK. Working alongside my mentor, Dorothy Robertson who has since retired, I ensured that I exposed myself to every opportunity to advance my skills in the holistic assessment of people With Parkinson’s.

I took over the service after becoming a consultant at the Royal United Hospital in Bath and have continued to develop a busy, high-quality multidisciplinary clinic which is expanding and caters for patients of all ages with Parkinson’s and related disorders.

I have been involved with a project with The Health Foundation examining Safer Clinical Pathways for patients with Parkinson’s which led to significant change locally and the service has an expanding research portfolio.

Having enjoyed the Masterclass immensely, I was delighted to be asked to join the Faculty and have been teaching on both the Consultant and SpR MasterClasses for three years mainly on non-motor issues in Parkinson’s disease. To my surprise I was recently awarded the Parkinson’s Academy Delegate of the Decade award.

I have also spoken at several national and regional conferences on various subjects pertaining to Parkinson’s disease from early treatment options to palliative care. I have recently been invited to speak on the Birmingham Movement Disorders course.

I have developed a relationship with Parkinson’s UK which has involved writing some of their patient information leaflets and also being involved with the Parkinson’s Excellence Network. I am currently working with them on an initiative looking at the experience of patients receiving their diagnosis and how this might be improved.

I have attended a number of international meetings regarding Parkinson’s and enjoy the networking opportunities along with the fantastic learning opportunities that these conferences provide. In 2013 I applied to be one of two consultant geriatrician national representatives on the Guideline Development Group for the reworking of the 2006 NICE guidelines. This is currently in progress and has proved to be an eye opening experience which has highlighted the intellectual rigour that is needed to develop evidence-based recommendations for all areas of Parkinson’s care.

I have therefore developed a passion for Parkinson’s over the last decade and this really stemmed from my first experiences via the MasterClass in 2005. I hope that I can stimulate a similar sentiment in other delegates passing through the Academy.