20th May 2016

People with neurological conditions must be prioritised

We welcome Public Accounts Committee report on neurological services

human brainUpdate:

The Department of Health has responded to the recommendations put forward by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) in their progress review report on neurology.  The PAC warned that neurological conditions are not a priority for the Department of Health and NHS England and expressed that positive progress would not be sustained.  Despite this the government’s response rejected a number of the recommendations including retaining the role of the National Clinical Director and instead cut the post in April 2016.  The response is contained in the April 2016 Treasury Minute (page 11 onwards).  The Migraine Trust, neurological charities and patient groups across the sector have expressed concern and disappointment with the government’s response and will continue to work together to campaign for better services for people with neurological conditions.  For more information visit the Neurological Alliance website.

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has released a report urging NHS England and the Department of Health to prioritise neurology and implement a number of key recommendations as quickly as possible.

The report comes following a progress review inquiry by the PAC during which The Migraine Trust (read more) and a number of other neurology charities, bodies and stakeholders submitted evidence on neurology services in England.

The PAC found a number of issues with neurology services including that “diagnosing neurological conditions takes too long, services in hospitals are variable and local health and social care services are often poorly coordinated.” It warns that “neurological conditions are not a priority for the Department of Health (the Department) and NHS England, and we are concerned that the progress that has been made may not be sustained.”

The PAC made a series of recommendations which include the following:

  1. NHS England should retain the role of national clinical director for adult neurology.
  2. NHS England should set out by April 2016: how it will use the new commissioning for value data packs to help clinical commissioning groups to improve neurological services and reduce the variation in services and outcomes; and how it will then hold clinical commissioning groups to account for their performance in this regard.
  3. NHS England should set out clearly by April 2016 which neurological services are specialised services to be commissioned by NHS England and which services should be commissioned locally by clinical commissioning groups.

The report, published on 26th February 2016, is now awaiting a response from the Government.

Further reading:

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