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Neurology patients betrayed by Government, say charities


Senior Member
Cornwall England
30 April 2012: Neurological Alliance: Neurology patients betrayed by Government, say charities

Press Release: http://www.neural.org.uk/store/asse...by-Government-say-charities-press_release.pdf

'People with neurological conditions feel 'thoroughly betrayed' by the Government, the Neurological Alliance representing 72 charities in the UK have said today (30 April).

The Association of British Neurologists has also commented on the Governments missed opportunity to improve neurology services for millions of people in England.

Faced with damning criticism by two of its own watchdog bodies, the Public Accounts Committee and the National Audit Office, which suggested that billions of pounds of NHS and taxpayers' money is being wasted on inappropriate, untargeted and unscrutinised spending, one would have thought the Government would take strong measures to right the wrongs that had been exposed.

But a Government response issued this morning makes clear that the Department of Health (DH) has completely ignored calls for a 'Neurology Tsar' to help develop a strategy to deliver better services. They have also refused to put sufficient and fair measures or strategies in place to ensure that the NHS and others are effectively meeting the needs of people with neurological conditions.

Provision will continue to lag behind cancer, heart and diabetes care, say the Neurological Alliance, where clear strategies and clinical leads have brought many improvements.

Even when Sir David Nicholson, the NHSs Chief Executive, admitted at the PAC hearing: I am not in any way suggesting that the services that we provide are adequate. [3a]. He also commented that clinical leadership like a national clinical tsar was vital to make your services happen. [3b] Yet the Government still have not listened.

"Instead of taking the criticism on the chin and rectifying mistakes, "said Steve Ford, Chair of the Neurological Alliance and Chief Executive of Parkinson's UK, the DH has chosen to fudge its way out of a corner. Their response issued today is a whitewash - full of 'department spin' and a series of half-truths and massaging of measures and figures to argue their very weak case. This will do very little indeed to improve care services for people with MS, Motor Neurone Disease, Parkinson's or other neurological conditions."

"All the evidence from the Public Accounts Committee and National Audit Office have been dismissed by the DH. People with neurological conditions feel thoroughly betrayed today and can have no confidence that this Government has its interests at heart. The next review is not for three years and this has been a wasted opportunity."

Professor Martin Rossor, President of the Association of British Neurologists commented:

We are disappointed that the Government has not committed to establishing neurology clinical networks that would provide comprehensive coverage across the country. This is a missed opportunity that would have brought clinicians together to make real progress on improving patient care, spending money more efficiently and mitigating service variation.

Arlene Wilkie, Chief Executive of the Neurological Alliance said:

The Government has totally ignored the warning of its own spending watchdog that a national leader is needed to take control and avert this crisis of care for people with neurological conditions.

Without a dedicated lead to push forward the vital improvements required to deliver high-quality care, neurology services will continue to lag behind those for other conditions and fail patients.

The Public Accounts Committee with review services for people with neurological conditions again in three years time.'

Links to reports etc. can be found in the above.

Its time for a better deal for neurology


'The Government has formally responded to the Public Accounts Committees (PAC) report on services for people with neurological conditions. The Government spending watchdog conducted an inquiry on this issue following a National Audit Office (NAO) report in December 2012. Similarly to the NAO, the PAC concluded that neurology services are poorly coordinated, have lacked national leadership and represent poor value for money.

In its report, published in March 2012, the PAC made a series of strong recommendations, which the Neurological Alliance has been calling on the Government to implement in full.

In its response to the PAC, however, the Government agrees to implement only a handful of these recommendations, rejecting the PACs key calls for the appointment of a neurology Tsar and the establishment of clinical networks for neurology to help promote the joining up of local health and social care services.

Arlene Wilkie, Chief Executive of the Neurological Alliance, said:

We are tremendously disappointed by the Governments response to the PACs report. Had the PACs recommendations been fully implemented, they would have achieved real and positive change for the 8 million people in England living with a neurological condition.

Whilst we welcome the Governments commitment to collecting more data on neurological conditions and ensuring that all people with neurological conditions have a personal care plan, we do not believe that these measures alone will be sufficient to avert this crisis of care and drive the neurology service improvements so urgently needed. As such, neurological care will continue to lag behind and fail patients.

This a real missed opportunity and service users and taxpayers will pay the heavy price for the Governments in action.

The Rt Hon Margaret Hodge MP, Chair of the Public Accounts Committee said:

Services for people with neurological conditions are simply not up to scratch, and the implementation of the Framework for improving neurology services has not worked.

We identified an absence of leadership at both national and local level and poor integration of services as key weaknesses that must be addressed. It is therefore extremely disappointing that the Department has rejected our recommendations in relation to these issues.

The Department has got to do better and we will be taking this up with them in due course.

We are planning our next steps, details of which will be available shortly.'