Education of health professionals

Education and awareness of migraine must be improved to ensure that migraine is identified, diagnosed and treated properly

The Issue

The general level and understanding and awareness of migraine and headache disorders amongst health professionals is poor. As such there can be huge variations in the care and treatment that patients receive. There is an insufficient number of specialist health professionals to meet the huge number of migraine patients across the UK that need their help.

Female health professionalDespite its prevalence understanding of the condition is inconsistent amongst GPs and general neurologists across the UK. This regularly results in incorrect diagnosis, poor management and treatment, and a lack of useful information and support for migraine patients. As well as negatively impacting on migraine sufferers’ experience and treatment, this places avoidable burden on the NHS and undermines clinical guidance.

Without substantial investment into headache and migraine in the UK health professionals will continue to overlook the field for specialism. As a result the burden of headache will increase and sufferers will continue to face inconsistent levels of care and patient satisfaction.

What needs to happen?

  • Headache disorders and migraine should be allocated more hours and importance on the undergraduate teaching curriculum to reflect the prevalence of the condition.
  • A headache teaching curriculum for non-specialists, focusing on primary care, should be made widely available to health professionals.
  • Local commissioning groups should support shared learning and training for non-specialist health professionals through clinical networks, drawing on the expertise of local GPs & neurologists with a special interest in headache.
  • GPs with a special interest in headache should be funded and supported to develop their interest by local commissioners.
  • Headache Specialist Nurse positions should be supported, and the value of investing in the development of headache specialist nurses recognised locally and nationally.

Our work

We work with health professionals including BASH, membership bodies, academic institutions and parliamentarians to raise awareness of this issue and improve health professionals education and training in migraine and other headache disorders.