16th September 2014

Report: Is localism working for people with neurological conditions?

A new survey has revealed that the localised health and care system is failing to engage local people.

Patient and public voice in the health and care system is a key driver of service improvement, through closer understanding of needs and better-designed services. However, a new survey by the Neurological Alliance shows low levels of public engagement with health and care services locally. The survey of charity staff, volunteers, people affected by neurological conditions and their carers reveals that a majority feel that local influencing has become more difficult since the 2012-13 NHS reforms.

The survey found that:

  • 47% of people feel that local influencing has become more challenging since the changes to the health and social care system came into force, while 9% feel it has become easier.
  • 59% of campaigners have no engagement with CCGs, while 63% have no engagement with HWBs
  • Awareness of local structures such as HWBs, local Healthwatch and Strategic Clinical Networks (SCNs) remains low across the country.

The report makes a range of recommendations to improve engagement with the reformed health and care system. Among other recommendations, the report:

  • calls on NHS England to develop support, tools and resources to make the localism agenda work for people affected by neurological conditions, including through their representatives in the voluntary sector
  • calls on Public Health England to continue to develop the data available on neurological conditions, services and outcomes through the Neurology Intelligence Network and ensure this is linked to the activities of the Neurosciences Specialised Commissioning Clinical Reference Group and Strategic Clinical Networks.
  • calls on local commissioners to appoint a neurological conditions lead and conduct a neurological Joint Strategic Needs Assessment
  • calls on neurological charities to sign a pledge for working pan-neurologically at the local level

Arlene Wilkie, CEO of the Neurological Alliance, said: “The Coalition’s health and care reforms were intended to bring local people and communities closer to commissioners and decision-makers in the health system. As these results show, there is a long way to go. It is vital that the NHS learns to listen to those who experience and understand the reality of living with a neurological condition, in order to deliver better services and outcomes.”

Read the full report here

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