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Published:11 March 2013

Call to end 'haphazard' neurological services

A ‘legacy of neglect’ is preventing an estimated 12 million people living with neurological conditions in the UK from gaining vital treatment, a coalition of charities, has warned today (11 March). Speaking on the launch of Brain Awareness Week, the Neurological Alliance, of which Epilepsy Society is a member, paints a worrying picture of how a lack of specialist knowledge combined with haphazard services can stop people getting the help and treatment they need.

Leading health charities are warning that current neurological services will fail unless there are swift improvements and investments.

Arlene Wilkie, Chief Executive of the Neurological Alliance, explains: ‘Around one in six people in the UK will experience a neurological condition in their lifetime, yet little is being done to ensure that the NHS is fit for purpose when it comes to responding to these complex conditions.

Neurology tsar

‘We are pleased to see that our calls for a neurology “Tsar” have been heeded, but this does not mean that the Government can afford to rest on its laurels. Local services can be haphazard and vary hugely in their approach.

‘Neurology services have long suffered from a legacy of neglect. Too little investment in research and lack of knowledge about the brain has forced many people to fight titanic battles simply to gain the right diagnosis for their condition – a process which can sometimes take years. We will ensure that this is a priority for the newly appointed Tsar.’

Brain survey

As part of Brain Awareness Week, the Neurological Alliance is launching a new initiative to build up a clear picture of just how difficult it can be to get the right diagnosis. Launching today, the survey, Our Brains Matter  will seek to expose some of the realities and challenges facing neurology services in the UK.