The push for greater awareness is part of the charity’s activity to encourage people to Unite for Parkinson’s on World Parkinson’s Day, as a survey found that 32 per cent of people with Parkinson’s have been stared at in public and 11 per cent have been laughed at. In addition, 32 per cent of people do not feel that their symptoms are socially acceptable.
Parkinson’s affects 145,000 people in the UK, which is one in 350 people in North East Hertfordshire. With numbers of people affected expected to increase by a fifth by 2025, the charity is aiming to change attitudes about Parkinson’s to make life better for everyone living with the condition.
Through the training, Sir Oliver’s office will learn more about the progressive neurological condition, the complex symptoms people face, as well as how to recognise and best support constituents with Parkinson’s.
Commenting, Sir Oliver said: “It is shocking that people with Parkinson’s face so many barriers, including being mistaken for being drunk, when out in public.
“My office staff and I want to take the training so that we are all better equipped to improve the lives of everyone affected by the condition in North East Hertfordshire and better understand the issues faced by those who come to my advice surgery.”
Steve Ford, Chief Executive of Parkinson’s UK, said: “We are thrilled that Sir Oliver and his team have signed up to our Parkinson’s in the Workplace training.
“Lack of public understanding can make simple things like getting the bus, going to work, or even heading out to the pub with friends daunting for people with Parkinson's.
“That’s why one small action like signing up to learn more about the condition can have a big impact on people with Parkinson's. We look forward to seeing the difference Sir Oliver’s support can make for their constituents in North East Hertfordshire
Sir Oliver is also backing a petition from Parkinson’s UK calling for more organisations to sign up for the training. Sign the petition here.