THEY are the vital services that can help to transform the life of a family struggling with the devastating effects of muscular dystrophy.

So no one knows more about how important preventative care is than Hampshire fiveyear- old Jack Layton and his parents, who had their world come crashing down on them when he was diagnosed last year.

Today they are among hundreds of campaigners who have slammed health bosses for the “senseless waste” of millions of pounds, which could be spent to improve the shortened lives of sufferers like Jack.

They are calling for action after a damning report claimed that the south central health leaders are wasting up to £2m every year on avoidable emergency hospital treatment.

Campaigners believe millions could be slashed from the region’s emergency treatment bill for muscle-wasting disease patients by investing in preventative care.

But health chiefs argue the report is outdated and does not take into account the thousands ploughed into developing and improving specialist care.

The Muscular Dystrophy Campaign (MDC) will tomorrow present the Invest and Save report, backed by a group of leading clinicians, to health ministers.

It reveals the south central region spends £5.4m a year on emergency treatment for patients with muscle-wasting diseases.

It claims up to £2m of this is “unnecessary” and a direct result of a failure to invest adequately in ongoing specialist treatment to manage the conditions.

It also found that a lack of ongoing specialist support including access to expert care advisors, consultants and specialist physiotherapy is having a significant impact on both the length and frequency of hospital visits – leading more emergency cases.

Jack’s mum, Julie-Anne Baseley, from Wickham, said: “It’s a senseless waste of money and it’s disgusting that no one is listening to us. Huge savings can be made.

“When this condition is thrust upon your family, your dreams shatter and every time I see Jack deteriorate a little piece of my heart is chipped away.

“Living with this disease it tough enough, families should not be forced to beg for the help and care that could make life that little bit easier.”

The report also revealed nearly 40 per cent of people admitted to hospital in emergency circumstances said that this could have been prevented through specialist treatment.

Robert Meadowcroft, MDC chief executive, added: “Not only are there concrete and substantial savings to be made and hospital beds to be freed up, but we have the opportunity to both improve quality of life and avoid the overwhelming distress caused by having a partner or family member rushed on to an emergency ward.”

But a spokesperson for the South Central Specialised Commissiong Group insist this report is outdated and they have since committed £50,000 a year to each the Southampton and Oxford neuro-muscular services.

He added: “Detailed work is in progress gathering the evidence and evaluating hospital admission rates of patients with neurological conditions.

“This research will examine reasons for hospital admissions in this group of patients and identify what models of care to strengthen.”