8th August 2019
National Neuro Advisory Group publishes impact report
Neurology has more national visibility and the neurological community has a more unified voice. These are the two of the successes recognised in the National Neuro Advisory Group’s (NNAG) impact report published today. The impact report also recognises NNAG’s role in trouble-shooting emerging problems in service delivery. Joint working between patient and professional groups, as well as greater clinical involvement in improvement initiatives are among the other areas in which NNAG has achieved success over the last three years. Yet the report also highlights areas in which NNAG needs to improve. A lack of funding to support the NNAG programme is emphasised as an area which must be addressed. The need to improve communications and take a more strategic approach to avoid spreading resources too thinly, are other areas the report draws attention to.
Without NNAG I think the space would be far more fragmented therefore impact in neurological services would be less likely to succeed; NNAG strengthens the voice of neurology. Projects such as coding and review and improvement of pathways across different specialties are changing the neurology landscape.
Dr Catherine Mummery, Consultant Neurologist, Chair of the Services Committee, ABN, Neurology Vice Chair, Neurosciences Clinical Reference Group
National improvement initiatives
There have been a proliferation of national improvement initiatives relating to neurology over the three years since NNAG was established. The Neurosciences Transformation Programme sponsored by NHS England is underway, with four additional neurology workstreams recently agreed. NHS Right Care has a greater focus on neurology with several neurology toolkits due for publication this year. Neurology is also included in a number of other national initiatives including work on frailty, elective care and the national stroke plan. NNAG has supported a greater focus on neurology within the mental health teams at NHS England.
NNAG has also been instrumental in improving coordination and development of data and intelligence about neurology. The Neuro Intelligence Collaborative (NIC) was established as a sub group of NNAG early in 2018. The neuro data programmes, which include Getting it Right First Time, The Neurology Intelligence Network and Right Care, as well as projects by the Association of British Neurologist, The Neurological Alliance and others, have achieved greater alignment. The NIC has also begun to develop new data. A project on outpatient coding is underway, with plans for a new project on neurology outcomes later this year.
Plans for the future
The impact report also sets out NNAG’s plans for the future. Care planning, developing patient outcome measures and headache disorders are three areas highlighted as priorities for the remainder of 2019/20. NNAG also sets out plans for how it will address its current weaknesses. Expanding stakeholder engagement and developing communication channels are two areas prioritised for development. A full business plan will be produced later this year. NNAG will also continue to seek funding to support its activities.
The NNAG aims to develop a system-wide approach to improvement by bringing together all the different parts of the health system currently working on neurology. In particular the NNAG was set up to seek alignment between programmes in NHS England, the Department of Health’s Arm’s Length Bodies and system partners, such as clinicians, professional bodies and charities relevant to people with neurological conditions. Together NNAG guides the strategic development of work to improve outcomes for people living with neurological conditions. The NNAG is not a decision making body but does make formal recommendations to NHS England about the commissioning of services through the NHS England Clinical Policy Unit and NHS England Long Term Conditions team. The NNAG takes a whole pathway approach, focusing particularly on the areas that do not come under the specialised remit of the Neurosciences Clinical Reference Group.
Read the full impact report here.
Read more about NNAG on in our current work section.