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27 March 2015

Epilepsy Society calls for politicians to maintain funding and care

Epilepsy Society is one of 56 leading health charities to have signed an open letter calling on political party leaders to maintain national funding and care standards for people with rare and complex conditions.

These conditions range from the rarest diseases to more common conditions, including neurological conditions such as epilepsy, cancers, cystic fibrosis, eating disorders, haemophilia, kidney disease, severe burns, spinal injuries and many more. Services for these conditions account for over £14 billion of the overall NHS budget.

Since the reorganisation of the NHS in April 2013 when funding became more localised, 147 services for people with rare and complex conditions continue to be funded by the NHS at national level, enabling consistent standards of access and care for patients across England.  NHS England has, however, announced its intention to move to local place-based budgets for specialised services.  This threatens the same variation in access as presently experienced by women seeking IVF, with only one in five Clinical Commissioning Groups offering treatment in line with NICE guidelines.

NHS England has given an assurance that national budget-holding and accountability will remain in 2015/16 but remains resolutely silent on its plans thereafter.