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Charity highlights plight of ‘invisible’ patients with neuro conditions

15 January 2015 - 11:04am

Just one person in six (17 per cent) with a neurological condition has regular contact with a physiotherapist, according to the results of a survey of nearly 7,000 people with such conditions.

Conducted by the Neurological Alliance, the survey found that nearly 60 per cent of respondents had problems accessing services and treatment.

The charity, which represents more than 80 national and regional organisations in England, conducted an online survey from 30 June to 17 September last year.

The results were published in a report, Invisible patients: revealing the state of neurology services, on 12 January.

Karen Middleton, CSP chief executive, said: ‘We must give anyone living with a long-term condition every opportunity to lead as full and active a life as possible.

‘But if, as this report suggests, nearly six in 10 people with a neurological condition have found it difficult to access the services they need, then clearly this cannot happen.’

Clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) have an important role in commissioning neurology services, including community physiotherapy, the report says.

But it suggests that about one CCG in seven assessed the local costs of neurology services. Furthermore, only one in three obtained patient feedback about the neurology services they commissioned.

Ms Middleton emphasised that physiotherapy helps people with conditions such as MS and stroke to manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life.

The report urges every CCG to collate local neurology data, underpinned by an assessment of the prevalence of neurological conditions and the numbers using neurological services locally.

Robust local information is key to enabling CCGs to meet the challenge of taking more responsibility for specialised services, it says.

‘It’s essential that commissioners take on board the recommendations in this report to allow all people with a neurological condition to realise their potential,’ Ms Middleton said.

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