Southampton service for muscle and nerve diseases named centre of excellence

A specialist regional service for patients with muscle-wasting and nerve diseases based at Southampton’s university hospitals has been named a national centre of excellence.

The adult neuromuscular service at Southampton General Hospital’s Wessex Neurological Centre was awarded the status by charity Muscular Dystrophy UK, which has now accredited 10 sites in the UK.

The award acknowledges outstanding levels of care for people with neuromuscular conditions like muscular dystrophy, myositis, neuropathies and myasthenia gravis.

In Southampton, a team of consultants, co-ordinators, physiotherapists and nurses treat around 1,500 patients a year from across Hampshire, Dorset, Wiltshire, West Sussex, the Isle of Wight, the Channel Islands and other parts of the South of England.

Patients are referred to the service, which is led by consultant neurologist Dr Simon Hammans, for a number of reasons, including advice on the diagnosis of a new neuromuscular problem and reassessment, further advice or monitoring for those living with an established condition.

Muscular Dystrophy UK’s centres of excellence are selected following a national audit which takes place every three years and sees services assessed against a set of criteria developed by experts on a committee chaired by Baroness Thomas of Winchester.

On completion of the 2015 audit, Southampton and a further two sites – Cambridge and Oswestry – joined the seven sites already awarded excellence status.

Dr Hammans said: “This is great news for the service and its staff, who work tirelessly to provide the highest quality care and treatment on the wards and in the clinic every day.

“More importantly, it is fantastic for our patients to see their hospital recognised as one of the country’s leading centres for neuromuscular conditions with a desire to maintain clinical excellence.

“We have demonstrated that by bringing specialist care closer to patients’ homes through the introduction of outreach clinics in Dorset and Portsmouth and look forward to developing the service further in the coming months and years.”

Professor Martin Bobrow, honorary life president of Muscular Dystrophy UK and audit lead, added: “While it is important that we continue to strive for better services for those living with a muscle-wasting condition, it is also important to stop and reflect on where we are and what has already been achieved.

“It was wonderful to see how many centres had grown and developed since the last audit of 2012 and our three new centres of excellence show that, nationally, we are moving in the right direction.”

Staff will receive an award from representatives of Muscular Dystrophy UK to mark the achievement at a presentation in the Wessex Neurological Centre today (Friday) from 2pm.

Posted on Friday 12 February 2016