26th October 2015

Letter from Arlene Wilkie published in The Times

The following letter was published in The Times on Monday October 26th:

Sir, Today the House of Commons public accounts committee will hear evidence from the Department of Health and NHS England on the state of services for the millions of people who live with neurological conditions such as migraine, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and Huntington’s disease.

From a patient perspective, this scrutiny is long overdue. For far too long, neurology services have suffered from huge regional and local variations in service access and quality. More than a fifth of local commissioning groups provide no neurology services whatsoever within their local area. Services that are available are often fragmented and under-resourced, with patients routinely waiting for more than a year from the first onset of symptoms to see a specialist capable of making a diagnosis. According to a recent survey by the Neurological Alliance, almost 40 per cent of people with neurological conditions have difficulty accessing the services they require.

This situation cannot be acceptable in today’s NHS. I call on the PAC to obtain clear commitments from NHS England and the Department of Health to bring neurology services up to the standards expected of a modern health service.

Arlene Wilkie

Chief executive, Neurological Alliance

*N.B: The PAC hearings referred to were postponed at the last minute and are now likely to be held in December 2015.

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