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Epilepsy Society signs petition to Jeremy Hunt over loss of National Clinical Director for neurology role

Epilepsy Society's chief executive Angela Geer has signed a joint petition letter to health secretary Jeremy Hunt underlining the ‘deep dismay’ felt at NHS England’s decision not to renew the role of National Clinical Director (NCD) for neurology beyond March.

The letter has been signed by 54 members of the Neurological Alliance and expresses concern that NHS England's decision is 'short-sighted and damaging to patients' interests'.

The petition, dated 25 January, claims that cutting the role of NCD, currently held by Dr David Bateman, will 'leave no strategic leadership for neurology within the NHS at the national level', and that his improvement initiatives will be disrupted.

The letter outlines Dr Bateman’s achievements since his post was created in 2013.  These include focusing on patients' experience of care, developing plans for a community care service and developing measurable standards to audit local provision for acute neurological emergencies and scheduled care.

With an estimated 12 million cases of neurological conditions in England, the letter points out that 'neurology is not a minor issue for the NHS'. Spending on neurology services totalled over £4.1 billion in 2013/14.

Along with the petition to Jeremy Hunt, the signatories signed a letter to the editor of The Times newspaper which has been published online.  The letter expresses the 'deep dismay' of the signatories at the decision, highlighting that people with neurological conditions feel let down and neglected by the system.