A Westminster debate in July heard Chris Bryant MP, chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on ABI, highlight the poor state of UK neurorehabilitation services.
Only 40 per cent of those requiring specialist rehabilitation received it, despite findings that those who did, did well, with 94 per cent becoming more independent in their daily living activities. This in turn reduced ongoing costs significantly.
Mr Bryant also highlighted a shortfall of beds and a lack of health professionals, including consultants in rehabilitation medicine.
Last year the APPG published a report Acquired Brain Injury and Neurorehabilitation - Time for Change, which called for immediate action to address the issues surrounding neurorehabilitation, seen as one of the most cost-effective interventions available to the National Health Service.
An acquired brain injury (ABI) is an injury caused to the brain since birth. There are a number of possible causes, including meningitis.
Commenting on behalf of the British Society of Rehabilitation Medicine (BSRM), and as Director of the UK Rehabilitation Outcomes Collaborative (UKROC), Professor Lynne Turner-Stokes said, “There is now substantial and robust evidence to support the clinical and cost-effectiveness of neurorehabilitation. The NHS can no longer ignore the mounting evidence, and the BSRM is demanding improved in-patient and community service provision.”
Early and continued access
Dr Andrew Bateman, Chair of the United Kingdom Acquired Brain Injury Forum (UKABIF) added, “The excellent advances in emergency and acute medicine mean that individuals now survive with an ABI, but many require early and continued access to rehabilitation to optimise their recovery and maximise their long-term potential."
“The services and expertise are just not available which is extremely short-sighted on the part of the NHS, and hugely detrimental long-term for individuals with ABI.”
Acquired Brain Injury and Neurorehabilitation – Time for Change was published in October 2018 following a series of meetings with experts about the issues surrounding the provision of neurorehabilitation services for children, young people and adults with ABI in the UK, focusing on education, criminal justice, sport-related concussion and the welfare benefits system. Read the report here.