What is the UK Headache Network?

Understanding more about your network. Why was it set up? What it is working to achieve?

Who is involved

Set up and managed by The Migraine Trust, the network is open to all professionals and organisations with an interest in migraine and other headache disorders. It’s free to be involved and resources are available for all to download.

Why the network was set up

The network was set up to meet the following challenges:

  • Approximately 10 million people aged 15-69 live with migraine in the UK
  • Migraine is the second leading cause of years lived with disability, (Lancet 2016)
  • Medication overuse headache is ranked as the 20th most disabling disease of all diseases (Lancet 2016)
  • Headache accounts for 33% of all new referrals to neurology outpatient appointments and is amongst the most common neurological reasons for A&E attendance
  • Despite their prevalence migraine and other headache disorders are not a priority for the UK governments and the NHS
  • There is a significant variation in the availability and access to optimal services and support across the UK

What the network is working to achieve

The UK Headache Network provides system leadership to transform migraine and headache care in the UK. Following extensive consultation with patients, clinicians, professional groups and stakeholders the network has produced an ambitious strategy, working together to achieve a better vision for the future:

  • Improved health outcomes and experience of care
  • Access to optimal services and support
  • Improved clinical management across the system
  • Prioritisation of migraine and headache disorder at national and local level

The initial work streams focus on:

  • Developing a framework for optimal care to define what good looks like
  • Communicating the case for change to key decision makers
  • Self-management
  • Rationalising headache management

The UK Headache Network web pages will share resources, tools and updates on this work to act as a central hub for those looking to improve care locally and nationally. Opportunities to work together, increase expertise and share best practice will be shared through the network.

What has been achieved in the first year of the network

  • Strategy and priority areas defined
  • Involvement of individuals and groups representing neurologists, GPs, nurses, pharmacists, physiotherapists, A&E professionals, commissioners and NHS decision makers
  • Patient priorities and aspirations defined through consultation led by charities and patient groups
  • National Neurology Advisory Group (NHS England) and the UK Headache Network partnership workstream
  • Framework for optimal care for adults with headache co-produced by NHS RightCare and the UK Headache Network
  • Headache prevalence data project underway with the Neurology Intelligence Network (Public Health England)
  • Scottish workplan defined and key stakeholders engaged in the network
  • Children and Young People sub-group meeting to develop a framework for optimal care
  • Broad stakeholder engagement in the development of the revised BASH guidelines

Future plans for the network

Building on the successes of year 1 the vision for future years includes:

  • Increased engagement with broad range of professionals and organisations
  • Development of local networks and engagement initiatives
  • Increased partnership working at national level in England and the devolved nations
  • National clinical audit
  • National patient experience audit
  • Prioritisation on the public health agenda

For more information on the UK Headache Network and how to get involved contact policy@migrainetrust.org