One constant feature of the Parkinson’s MasterClass has been to complete a piece of work between the first and second modules. The nature of the project has varied greatly but the idea of building on experiences and doing that in a way that helps to improve services has always been there.In 2007 the idea of a National Parkinson’s disease audit had been around for a while. National audits in a number of different areas such as stroke and hip fracture were already well established. There was a feeling that benchmarking care for people with Parkinson’s disease would help to drive up standards but things had never been able to move forwards.After the first module of Masterclass 10 we agreed that we would complete a multicentre audit looking at new patient referrals to a variety of settings. We looked at the sources of referrals, whether people were being started on Parkinson’s medication by non-specialists (as this was still seen quite frequently at that point) and whether people were seen within six weeks of referral.The results themselves were of interest but more importantly this was a proof of the concept that a set of standards could be agreed that could be tested across the whole of the United Kingdom. Through close links with the BGS Movement disorders section, this was taken forwards and helped to form the basis for what ultimately became the National Parkinson’s disease audit.The MasterClass offers an amazing opportunity to collaborate with others on work that can take on national significance. It is a reminder that, as a specialist, we are much closer to positions of influence than we may realise. The work that is done by MasterClass delegates can do much to cement networks, improve knowledge and develop change on a national scale.Thinking differently is a feature of both the BGS Movement Disorders Section and the Parkinson’s MasterClass. If you are going to take part in one of the Neurology Academy’s courses think about what you could do to make the most of the opportunity of collaborative working. Often the areas that are thought to be mundane and unexciting are the most fertile areas to make a difference because nobody has bothered to look at them before.My advice is to seize the opportunity with both hands and make the most of what the inter-module project offers.Click here to see the presentation slides for this audit
'The things you can't get from the books'
Parkinson's Academy, our original and longest running Academy, houses 20 years of inspirational projects, resources, and evidence for improving outcomes for people with Parkinson's. Led by co-founder and educational director Dr Peter Fletcher, the Academy has a truly collegiate feel and prides itself on delivering 'the things you can't get from books' - a practical learning model which inspires all Neurology Academy courses.