Neurology services underfunded and post-code rationed…..

If removal of “fear” is a reason to value a health care system, then the opinion of Arlene Wilkie on the Neurology Services in the UK (Neurological Alliance) is important. Whilst government spends money on small items which patients should have responsibility to provide for themselves, the bigger things are being post-code rationed, with large variations in provision. 20% of the population have no service and 40% have difficulty accessing services… These services were provided as a result of the original large NHS mutual….. Breaking up the market into small financial entities brings a perverse incentive not to commission these services which affect a small % of the population. (if commissioner scan get away with it!)

A letter in the Times 26th October shows how she feels:

Today the House of Commons public accounts committee will hear evidence from the Department of Health and NHS England on the state of services for the millions of people who live with neurological conditions such as migraine, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and Huntington’s disease.

From a patient perspective, this scrutiny is long overdue. For far too long, neurology services have suffered from huge regional and local variations in service access and quality. More than a fifth of local commissioning groups provide no neurology services whatsoever within their local area. Services that are available are often fragmented and under-resourced, with patients routinely waiting for more than a year from the first onset of symptoms to see a specialist capable of making a diagnosis. According to a recent survey by the Neurological Alliance, almost 40 per cent of people with neurological conditions have difficulty accessing the services they require.

This situation cannot be acceptable in today’s NHS. I call on the PAC to obtain clear commitments from NHS England and the Department of Health to bring neurology services up to the standards expected of a modern health service.

Arlene Wilkie

Chief executive, Neurological Alliance

This entry was posted in A Personal View, Commissioning, Post Code Lottery, Rationing, Stories in the Media on by .

About Roger Burns - retired GP

I am a retired GP and medical educator. I have supported patient participation throughout my career, and my practice, St Thomas; Surgery, has had a longstanding and active Patient Participation Group (PPG). I support the idea of Community Health Councils, although I feel they should be funded at arms length from government. I have taught GP trainees for 30 years, and been a Programme Director for GP training in Pembrokeshire 20 years. I served on the Pembrokeshire LHG and LHB for a total of 10 years. I completed an MBA in 1996, and I along with most others, never had an exit interview from any job in the NHS! I completed an MBA in 1996, and was a runner up for the Adam Smith prize for economy and efficiency in government in that year. This was owing to a suggestion (St Thomas' Mutual) that practices had incentives for saving by being allowed to buy rationed out services in the following year.

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