Tweeting about a neurological 'tsar'

Nicola Brian The BBC reported this week that Labour has appointed a 'Twitter tsar' to improve the party's use of 'social media' before the general election.

In itself, I think it's a good idea to get more in touch with new media. The Parkinson's Disease Society reaches new people through Facebook and Twitter and other social networking sites. And our latest campaign - Fair Care for Parkinson's, allows people to email Gordon Brown as well as write to him.

But even though Labour's new post isn't publicly funded - the appointment of another 'tsar' is frustrating given there still isn't an equivalent post to advise on neurological services.

While the exact number of Twitter users is not known, estimates indicate that there are around 1 million users of the service in the UK. In contrast there are 10 million people with neurological conditions living in the UK, 120,000 of those with Parkinson's.
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A tsar can provide leadership on key areas of policy, and tsars for other health conditions like cancer and stroke have lead to huge improvements in the way the conditions are treated.

It's important to stay ahead of the game with communications – but I wish the Government would also acknowledge the ways that 10 million people with neurological conditions could benefit from the same leadership that Twitter will.

Nicola Brian is Director of Communications at the Parkinson's Disease Society

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