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New report by the National Audit Office (NAO)
A new report by the National Audit Office (NAO) has shown that the government has failed to achieve key objectives for improving services for millions of people with neurological conditions. Reviewing progress against recommendations made by the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee (PAC) in 2012, the NAO’s report shows that progress has been ‘poor’ against two of four agreed recommendations, and only ‘moderate’ in the other two.
Commenting on the report, Arlene Wilkie, Chief Executive of the Neurological Alliance, said: “Three years on from the Public Account Committee’s report, it is unacceptable that so little progress has been made in vital areas that were identified as needing urgent improvement. It only adds to the sense that people living with neurological conditions are not seen as a priority within today’s NHS. We need action so that the needs of millions of people with complex conditions must no longer be overlooked.”
Key recommendations that have not been achieved include:
- Access to services
The government has failed to use levers such as the clinical commissioning group outcomes indicator set to improve access to neurology services across the country and as a result neurology is mentioned in only half of local strategies.
- Improving data
The government has failed to rectify the shortage of neurology data, which means for example that the NHS has no record of the numbers of neurology service users and no effective measure of patient outcomes.
- Care planning
The government has failed to ensure that everyone with a long-term neurological condition has a care plan which means that their changing care needs are simply not being met.
Neurology services continue to suffer from a range of issues including highly variable access to specialist expertise, long waiting times for diagnosis, and poor care planning and coordination, as set out in the Alliance’s Invisible Patients report and the recent acute neurology survey by the Association of British Neurologists. The Neurological Alliance will now write to the PAC calling for a full review of neurology in light of the NAO’s findings.
The Invisible Patients: a new report from the Neurological Alliance
The Neurological Alliance has launched a new report, The Invisible Patients: Revealing the state of neurology services. Bringing together the findings of the Neurological Alliance's inaugural quality of commissioning audit and neurological patient experience survey, the report identifies significant variation in the quality of the commissioning of neurological services among clinical commissioning groups (CCGs). Findings include:
- Only 14.7% of CCGs have assessed local costs relating to the provision of neurology services
- Only 20.4% and 26.2% of CCGs respectively have assessed the number of people using neurological services and the prevalence of neurological conditions within their area
- Only 33% of CCGs obtain vital feedback from patients in regards to the neurological services they commission
- These issues have a significant impact on patients' care, with 58.1% of patients having experienced problems in accessing the services or treatment they need.
In response, The Invisible Patients sets out a number of recommendations. Find out more on the Neurological Alliance website.
the NHS South West, there are estimated to be nearly one million people living
with some type of neurological condition. Check out the figures here: