26th February 2016

Public Accounts Committee report on neurological services

We welcome today’s report by the Public Accounts Committee and urge NHS England and the Department of Health to prioritise neurological care to ensure that all recommendations are implemented as quickly as possible.

The Committee 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 and NHS England, and we are concerned that the progress that has been made may not be sustained.”

The report comes at a time when neurology services have come under scrutiny for falling behind other condition areas. The latest NHS England GP patient survey shows that patients with long-term neurological problems report some of the worst states of pain and highest levels of anxiety or depression, with the lowest health outcome scores of any long-term conditions. Despite these issues, neurology has largely been ignored by local commissioners and continues to lag behind other condition groups in service quality, availability and access.

Arlene Wilkie, Chief Executive of the Neurological Alliance, said:
“The Public Accounts Committee’s report today echoes our view that neurology services within the NHS require urgent attention. We urge NHS England and the Department of Health to act quickly to ensure that everyone living with a neurological condition receives a high-quality, accessible services.

In particular, we are pleased that the Public Accounts Committee agrees that NHS England’s decision to cut the role of National Clinical Director for adult neurology is a backward step for services and a real blow to patients and families. The millions of people living with neurological conditions must not be treated as an afterthought. NHS England must listen to the voices of patients and think again.”

Our full press release can be found here

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