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!)
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.
Chief executive, Neurological Alliance