There is a severe shortage of physicians who specialize in treating Parkinson’s disease – only one per 2,272 patients, according to data to be presented to the Labor, Social Affairs and Health Committee on Tuesday.
Israel Parkinson’s Disease Day will be held on May 27, as it was not marked with World Parkinson’s Day, which fell on April 11 during Passover.
The Knesset lobby on Parkinson’s disease is to present the problems for patients, who number 25,000 in the country. In the periphery, there isn’t a single hospital or clinic that specializes in the progressive and fatal neurological disease, according to the lobby. There are only 11 neurologists in the country who specialize in treating Parkinson’s patients, and just one hospital resident is learning the specialty.
Residents in the periphery have to travel to hospitals in the center of the country to get care, and even then, the queues are very long, said Likud Beytenu MK Moshe Feiglin, who called on the Health Ministry to find solutions and take action.
Amir Carmin, chairman of the Israel Parkinson’s Association, said that the inequity in treatment is “horrendous and that patients are left untreated or improperly treated because they don’t live in the big cities.”
As a result, said Feiglin, who is a member of the lobby, many patients are not diagnosed in time or do receive the proper medical treatment.
This means that they leave their workplaces in the early stages of the disease, he maintained on Monday.
According to data obtained by the Knesset Research Center, there are 334 Israeli Parkinson’s patients per 100,000 residents – a very high rate compared to other countries such as Britain, Sweden, Italy, Spain, the US and other developed nations, where the rates range from as low as 60 per 100,000 to as high 350 per 100,000, putting Israel on the high end of prevalence.