23 January 2024

Sheffield Teaching Hospitals adult neuromuscular centre recognised for outstanding care


  • Sheffield Teaching Hospitals awarded national Centre of Clinical Excellence award from leading national charity Muscular Dystrophy UK for the second consecutive time running
  • The Trust is one of 24 specialist neuromuscular services across the country to be given the designation following a rigorous national audit
  • Although rare, neuromuscular diseases are lifelong conditions which require continuous specialist care and monitoring
  • The treatment landscape for many of these muscle-wasting conditions is rapidly changing, with one patient Andrew, 43, from Doncaster thanking the team for making a “huge difference” to his life.


Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust receives a prestigious Centre of Clinical Excellence award from leading national charity Muscular Dystrophy UK.

The charity for more than 110,000 children and adults in the UK living with one of over 60 muscle wasting and weakening conditions awarded Sheffield Teaching Hospitals for providing outstanding care, promoting best practice locally and nationally and demonstrating their commitment to improving health and care for people living with muscle wasting and weakening conditions.

In total 24 neuromuscular centres across the UK, including Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, were recognised. The information gathered through the awards process provides a benchmark of neuromuscular services across all centres that took part in a national audit. This will help centres in their efforts to build business cases for additional NHS investment in core services.

Dr Channa Hewamadduma, Lead Neuromuscular Consultant Neurologist at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Honorary Senior Lecturer at the University of Sheffield said: “It is a real honour to receive the Muscular Dystrophy UK’s Centre of Excellence award for the second consecutive time running in recognition of the ongoing care and support that we provide to adult patients in South Yorkshire, North Derbyshire and Lincolnshire and beyond.

“Neuromuscular diseases, although rare, are lifelong conditions which require continuous specialist care, monitoring and support to get better or ensure stability and improve quality of life. In receiving this award, I would also like to acknowledge the incredible contribution of our multi-disciplinary team who work tremendously hard to provide excellent treatments and care for patients with a muscle wasting or weakening conditions. The treatment landscape for many of these conditions is rapidly changing.

“These new treatments hold promise, but they are still new approaches, which come with their own challenges which we have been able to navigate successfully. We are also particularly proud of the key role our related specialist services play in helping patients to maintain a better quality of life and pride ourselves on providing an excellent standard of care.”

The centres across the country can provide a lifeline for those living with a muscle wasting or weakening conditions including Andrew Stephenson, 43, from Doncaster, who was diagnosed with refractory generalised myasthenia gravis in 2003. The condition, which stops the messages from his brain crossing from the nerves to his muscles, causes his muscles to tire easily and particularly cause paralysis of his diaphragm and stops him from breathing. This means he needs admission to intensive care regularly. Ten years ago, he would have exhausted all available treatments, but thanks to a new treatment he now has “more good days than bad ones” and has avoided an intensive care admission for some time.

Andrew said: “Over the last 21 years I've had 32 stays in intensive care, sepsis twice and two tracheostomies. I wish I could express how much gratification, respect and admiration I have for the efforts the Sheffield adult neuromuscular services department put in. The care from the whole team, including the neurologists, support workers, physiotherapists and domestics, has been second to none.”

 An army veteran, Andrew started taking a new treatment for his myasthenia gravis seven months ago, which has led to a huge improvement in his outlook. “It’s made a huge difference. There’s less days now when I struggle to walk, talk, or swallow. I couldn’t have asked for more from the team at Sheffield, they’ve really gone above and beyond, reacting quickly when I had sepsis, thinking outside the box when no other treatments were available and giving me compassionate and professional care every time.”

The Sheffield Neuromuscular Centre is made up of consultants, nurses, specialist physiotherapists, care advisors, speech and language therapists, and related specialist services such as respiratory, cardiology, orthopaedic, gastroenterology, metabolic bone medicine, orthotics and wheelchairs and seating care are several to mention. The service looks after patients from across South Yorkshire, North Derbyshire and North Lincolnshire and for some disorders like myasthenia gravis, spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), inflammatory myositis, Sheffield offers a supra regional referral service.

Catherine Woodhead, Chief Executive of Muscular Dystrophy UK, said: “We would like to congratulate Sheffield Teaching Hospitals on being recognised with a Centre of Excellence award after a robust and rigorous assessment of their service by leading neuromuscular experts and members of the muscle wasting and weakening community. Despite continuing pressures and challenges within the NHS, these centres strive every day to ensure they promote best practice and provide an exemplary service.

"The findings from our Centre of Excellence awards demonstrate that many centres continue to require investment to develop specialist multi-disciplinary teams that can provide the best care possible along with a working environment that fosters the ability to conduct or support excellent research and clinical trials to advance treatments and other scientific progress. That's why we're calling on commissioners to include requirements for the provision of the recommended standards of neuromuscular care.”

Muscular Dystrophy UK’s Centres of Excellence awards take place every three years. The audit is overseen by the charity’s Services Development Committee, and an independent sub-committee of neuromuscular health professionals and people with lived experience of neuromuscular conditions. The audit reviews information, a range of case studies and examples of best practice as well as assessing the way neuromuscular services are organised and how people using the services can access them.

For further information on Muscular Dystrophy UK’s Centre of Excellence awards visit: musculardystrophyuk.org/centreofexcellenceawards






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