Sheffield hospitals rated as national 'centres of excellence' for treating patients with muscle wasting conditions

The ground-breaking work being done by hospital workers in Sheffield to help scores of people with debilitating muscle wasting conditions has been recognised at national level.

By Lee Peace
Wednesday, 03 July, 2019, 07:36

More than 1000 patients with neuromuscular conditions such as muscular dystrophy, spinal atrophy, neuropathies, and neuromuscular junction disorders have been treated over the last four years within specialist facilities at the Northern General Hospital and Royal Hallamshire Hospital.

Meanwhile, the neuromuscular clinic at Sheffield Children’s Hospital has for 20 years been providing care for children across South Yorkshire, North Derbyshire and Lincolnshire with nerve and muscle conditions.

Both Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust have now been officially recognised as Centres of Clinical Excellence by Muscular Dystrophy UK at two award ceremonies on Tuesday.

The accolades come after an intensive audit by a panel of experts and Sheffield is now rated as one of 16 neuromuscular centres in the UK.

Hospital bosses were handed their accolades by Rob Burley, director of campaigns, care and support at the charity, after he was given a tour of the facilities at hospital sites across the city.

Northern General Hospital.

After witnessing the good work being done for himself, the charity boss was full of praise for staff and said: “These trusts provide comprehensive services for people with muscle-wasting conditions and promote best practice, ensuring patients have access to the best possible healthcare near where they live. Improved clinical care means faster access to treatments and potential cures.

“As the leading charity improving standards in muscle centres, we want to make sure everyone living with a muscle-wasting condition gets excellent care.”

Rotherham woman Jayne Small, aged 50, who was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy four and a half years ago, has personally benefited from all of the state-of-the-art facilities and staff’s medical expertise.

Jayne Small.

She said: “The condition affects most of my body and I’m unable to walk unaided. I was in a bit of a dark place when I was first told there was something wrong with my muscles and I was struggling to understand and cope with the disease, but the team have really helped me with this. It may take me longer to do things, but I am now confident to do certain exercises, which help my condition and I understand the importance of it.

“The specialised physio team and support nurse have set up a support group where you can meet with other patients with muscular dystrophy every three months and I’ve had support with muscle exercises, information about muscular dystrophy and specialised advice.

“Because of my illness I struggle doing simple things, going up the stairs, getting out of chairs and getting up after a fall, but the team at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals have kept me going and I’ve been able to do things I wouldn’t have thought I’d be able to do.

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“Thanks to the specialist support, I am able to cope better with daily life and can now look to the future more positively. Without them I wouldn’t be in the position I am today.”

The Royal Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield.

At the Children’s Hospital, Mr Burley was shown around the dedicated paediatric facilities and talked with members of the paediatric neuromuscular team.

He also met with children and young adults affected by muscle-wasting conditions.

His whistle-stop visit then moved on to the Hallamshire where he was greeted by Dr Channa Hewamadduma, consultant neuromuscular neurologist at the neuromuscular team, who gave him a guided tour of the specialist facilities available to adults with neuromuscular disorders.

The key role the team at the Northern General play in supporting patients who live with devastating nerve and muscle-wasting conditions was also highlighted.

He was then shown the state-of-the-art neurophysiology unit where investigations with nerve testing take place to diagnosis conditions.

Dr Hewamadduma said: “The adult neuromuscular service at the Royal Hallamshire and Northern General Hospital is a well-established, comprehensive, diagnostic and therapeutic service with a range of subspecialist interests in peripheral nerve, muscle and neuromuscular junction disorders.

Sheffield Childrens Hospital.

“We are hoping to grow with a number of projects to increase research and further benefit patients. This award will galvanise the team to keep striving for excellence.“

Dr Min Ong, paediatric neurology consultant in the neuromuscular team at Sheffield Children’s Hospital, added: “We are delighted to receive recognition of excellence for the comprehensive neuromuscular service, which includes our pioneering plans for a multidisciplinary neuromuscular clinic day.

“This means we can work more coherently as a team across many specialties and get results on the same day to make our service more efficient for our patients and their families. We are further developing this to include specialised clinics for specific conditions.”

Sheffield NHS Foundation Trust receives a commendation from Muscular Dystrophy UK Rob Burley MD, Kirsten Major CEO and Consultant Neurologist Channa Hewamadduma