Older woman struggling to walk between parallel bars

Providing insight, working together: driving the neurology agenda forward in 2022

David Martin, The Neurological Alliance’s Chair of Trustees. He's smiling.

David Martin, The Neurological Alliance’s Chair of Trustees and CEO of MS Trust, writes:

I recently met Sally. She is living in pain. Sally is struggling to walk and struggling to work. Her appointment to see a neurologist is months away.

Sally is one of the 176,000 people with existing or suspected neurological conditions whose lives are dictated by growing neurology waiting lists. And those waiting lists are still growing.

While some would say the worst effects of the pandemic are over, wider challenges in the NHS are getting worse before they will get better.

Driving policy changes

At The Neurological Alliance, wringing our hands at the worsening situation is not enough. In the context of growing waiting lists, a shrinking workforce and NHS reform continuing at pace, we are at a crossroads. Now is the time for us to seize the day, work together and speak out.

Our role in providing a platform for people with neurological conditions to share their experiences and provide real insight is more important than ever. The neurological community is at the heart of everything we do.

When they are published, the results of My Neuro Survey will be more relevant than ever in helping to achieve improvements in treatment, care and support for people affected by neurological conditions. They will shed new light on the impact of the pandemic on access to and experience of services for the thousands of people with neurological conditions who took part.

We hope the results will help to drive positive policy changes in key areas.

Our current priorities

  • Restoring elective care: with the significant disruption of neurological services due to COVID-19, we are pushing for neuro to have a seat at the table as part of NHSE/I elective recovery plans.
  • Improving access to treatments and services: we will be able to highlight the growing challenges for the neuro community through the results of My Neuro survey.
  • Increasing the level of  support for mental health and wellbeing of people with neurological conditions: mental health needs which have been overlooked more recently will be represented in My Neuro Survey, supporting the development of an Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) module on neurological conditions.
  • Addressing health inequalities: health inequalities have got worse during the pandemic. We will be publishing new evidence through My Neuro Survey.

Supporting our members                                                                                                                          

The arrival of Integrated Care Systems will really change the health landscape this year. I want to support member organisations, large and small, to work with ICSs, ensuring people with neurological conditions are well represented.

And, as we sit in the eye of the NHS storm, the Alliance will be undertaking a comprehensive review, deciding what our long-term priorities should be for the next five years, with the evidence provided by My Neuro Survey helping to show where change is needed most.

Working together

We won’t be doing this in isolation – we will be working together to achieve our common aims. All 85 Alliance members are part of this journey to drive the neurology agenda forward. Please:

  • Support the campaign to publicise the results of My Neuro Survey and call for change when the campaign launches.
  • Work with us to develop key commitments for ICSs.
  • Get in touch with any suggestions you have about what we should be focusing on.

As mum would say, we are all ears.

Thank for your support, particularly in the uptake of My Neuro Survey. We are stronger together.