Neuromuscular services at North Bristol Trust and UH Bristol named as Centres of Clinical Excellence by Muscular Dystrophy UK

Tuesday, 2 July 2019

Neuromuscular services at North Bristol Trust (NBT) and University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust have been recognised by Muscular Dystrophy UK for providing outstanding care for people with muscle-wasting conditions.

The neuromuscular disease service at Southmead Hospital and the neuromuscular service at Bristol Royal Hospital for Children, have both been awarded Centres of Clinical Excellence status by the charity.

The awards recognise excellence across a range of criteria, including the care received by patients, and help to drive up the standards of clinical support for people with muscle-wasting conditions.

Both services form part of the South West Neuromuscular Operational Delivery Network (SWNODN), a collaborative partnership between a range of healthcare providers across the South West.

The SWNODN brings together neurologists, physiotherapists, neuromuscular advisors, and psychologists, all of whom work in collaboration with patients and their families to provide high quality and accessible clinical/non-clinical support to those affected by neuromuscular conditions.

Dr Andria Merrison, consultant neurologist at Southmead Hospital, director of the SWNODN and director of the Bristol MND Centre said: “We are delighted to have received Muscular Dystrophy UK (MDUK) Centre of Excellence awards for both the adult service based at NBT and the paediatric service at Bristol children’s hospital.

“Delivering excellent, holistic, equitable specialist services as close to home as possible; crossing traditional boundaries of health and social care and working across organisational divides has been the ethos of the network.

“Improved outcomes, including improvements in quality of life, low hospital admission rates and better psychological health, are evident.

“These awards are testament to the commitment and dedication of patients and families, representative charities, health and social care professionals throughout the region, commissioners and provider organisations – a truly collaborative enterprise.”

North Bristol NHS Trust Medical Director, Chris Burton, said: “I am delighted that North Bristol Trust has been named a Centre of Clinical Excellence for our Neuromuscular services by Muscular Dystrophy UK.

“It is a great achievement for our staff and their work in partnership with patients and carers. We know that our staff work to go above and beyond in all they do and this recognition is very well deserved.”

Dr Anirban Majumdar, consultant in paediatric neurology at Bristol Royal Hospital for Children, said: “Since the SWNODN was established nearly 10 years ago, we have made significant progress to the care and treatment that people with neuromuscular conditions in the South West can access.

“This includes improved patient experience when transitioning from paediatric to adult services, equal and better access to a range of commercial trials for various conditions, and the capacity to ensure that, regardless of where someone lives in the South West, they can benefit from the same high level of care resulting in an improved quality of life.

“Being named a Centre of Clinical Excellence is a fantastic achievement and would not have been possible without the support and work of all of our multidisciplinary colleagues across the SWNODN.”

James Ledbrook, 41, from Clevedon was diagnosed with Becker Muscular Dystrophy along with his brother Steve when they were 5 years old and has been under the care of Southmead for many years.

He said: “The services here at North Bristol Trust have been really good and they really look after me. It’s great to have such excellent services locally to me. I think they really deserve to be awarded.”

James and Steve’s mum, Sharon Ledbrook, said: “The team here at Southmead are absolutely brilliant with both my son’s. They were diagnosed at 5-years-old and years ago the services and care were patchy and I felt I knew more than the doctors we were seeing.

“It has been really fantastic and the staff have been very supportive. I hope they are proud to have been given the centre of excellence award.”

Sarah Grafton’s son Oliver, aged 8, was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy when he was 4-years-old, said: “We have been under the Bristol Children’s Hospital since Oliver’s diagnosis and I have to say the care has been excellent.

“It’s been really hard since we were told the diagnosis as it’s quite a rare condition but we are very lucky to have had such great support at any time of the day.

“The staff at the hospital really deserves to be acknowledged for all their hard work and should be proud to be named as a centre of excellence by Muscular Dystrophy UK.”

Rob Burley, Director of Campaigns, Care and Support at Muscular Dystrophy UK, officially recognised the two services at a presentation on Wednesday 26 June. During the ceremony he specifically praised the provision of outreach clinics across the South West, making it easier for patients to access services regardless of where they live. 

Darren Jones, MP for Bristol North West said: “It’s wonderful news to hear the hard work of the neuromuscular teams at North Bristol NHS Trust and Bristol children’s hospital has been rewarded with Centre of Excellence status from Muscular Dystrophy UK.

"This acknowledgement from a well-regarded and trusted charity will only help to reassure patients they will be well looked after. I know NHS staff are working under increasing pressure, so I would like to take this opportunity to thank every NHS employee and volunteer across Bristol for their hard work and dedication to public service”.