My priorities as Chair of the Alliance


Our new Chair and Chief Executive of the MS Trust, David Martin, sets out his priorities for the future of the Alliance and care for people affected by neurological conditions.

We will be pumping up the volume at the Neuro Alliance in 2021 so that more people across the neurology sector get to have their say in the future.

Putting people at the heart of what we do

That means giving more of a platform, and a voice to the many millions of people in England with a neurological condition.

It also means enabling and amplifying the voices of many of the Alliance’s smaller members who are doing great work out across the country, and hopefully opening the door for some new faces to take seats at the decision-making table. Influence shouldn’t just be for those in large organisations or those based in and around London.

In a nutshell, that’s my manifesto as I become the Chair of the Neurological Alliance, this successful collaborative coalition of more than 70 big and small organisations.

A perfect storm?

The challenge is how we now take the step up from being good to great as the world around us transforms. The NHS Long Term Plan was silent on neurology. And the Pandemic has seen all things neuro (and of course, non-COVID work) drift even further down the pecking order.

As I step into the hot seat, it feels like the Alliance is at the eye of a perfect storm of:

  • Fewer people being referred when they should be
  • Fewer people getting the treatment and support they need and are experiencing more severe symptoms/progression as a result
  • Fabulous new treatments coming through for MS and other conditions, but with no realistic way to deliver them.

The challenge is making neurology a priority for the post-pandemic NHS when we are all too often overshadowed by the big ticket conditions.

Trying harder and running faster might not be enough in this crowded market place.

Harnessing the power of our membership

Growing from good to great will mean regularly harnessing the power of all of our 70-plus membership alongside increasing the voice and engagement of people affected by neurological conditions. We need to listen and embrace their diverse range of stories, and support them to shape the future of neurological services. That louder voice will make us a more authentic, powerful alliance in so many ways and turbo-charge our ability to influence.

Neurology isn’t the only speciality facing the challenges in an evolving NHS. But we can at least get our house in order about the scale of the problems in front of us and turn up the voices of our membership and our beneficiaries to come up with the best possible solutions for the future.

David is our new Chair and Chief Executive of the MS Trust. Find out more about the MS Trust on their website.