NHS Fife has appointed its first Motor Neurone Disease (MND) clinical nurse specialist.
Louise Murrie will provide dedicated support for MND patients across Fife, from the point of diagnosis right up to end-of-life care.
There are around 450 people living with MND in Scotland, 26 of whom will be provided with specialist support from Louise in her new role.
MND is a term given to a group of illnesses that affect the Motor Neurone nerves.
The disease does not impact everyone in the same way but can commonly cause someone to lose their ability to walk, talk, eat, drink or breathe unaided.
It can also lead to behavioural changes and the ability to think and plan, while there is currently no cure for MND but the symptoms can be managed in different ways.
Louise will cover west Fife, central Fife, and Levenmouth, while patients in north-east Fife will continue to receive specialist care from colleagues in NHS Tayside.
Around 10 patients are diagnosed with MND in Fife every year.
Louise said: “I am delighted to have been appointed MND clinical nurse specialist for Fife and I am looking forward to meeting my new patients.
“Having a familiar face throughout your care journey can be invaluable and it is a great privilege for me to be given the opportunity to support not only patients, but also their families and other loved ones.”
Helen Buchanan, NHS Fife director of nursing, said: “The role of MND nurse is extremely specialist and has been in the pipeline in Fife for the last year.
“Previously, NHS Fife worked in partnership with colleagues at NHS Forth Valley to provide this service, but with a growing number of people being diagnosed with the disease we knew that a dedicated service was needed so that we can continue to provide the highest quality, most consistent care.
“We are delighted to have appointed Louise and, being based in Fife, she will ensure a familiar face is there for patients, families and friends throughout the care journey, and when they need it most.”
Judy Newton, MND national lead and nurse consultant, said the partnership between NHS Fife and the Scottish Government will mean those affected by MND in Fife will now have direct access to their own MND nurse.
“It is important to people with and families affected by MND to have rapid access to a team of people who can advise, steer and improve quality of life whilst living with MND,” she added.
“Louise has a proven record of being able to do this and I have no doubt she will make an enormous impact to the families living in Fife today.”