National policy activities

NICE Guideline on Suspected Neurological Conditions

NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) announced the development of a guideline on suspected neurological conditions in 2015. The Neurological Alliance welcomed the announcement of this new guideline. The guideline aims to address delays in detection and referral of neurological conditions. It will support GPs, pharmacists and other primary care professionals to better recognise the symptoms of neurological conditions. This will enable people with neurological conditions to access specialist care more quickly when they need it.

The draft guideline was published for consultation in August 2017. The Neurological Alliance responded to the consultation outlining a number of concerns:

  • The Guideline was not appropriately pitched for a non-specialist audience
  • Several symptoms of neurological conditions were entirely absent from the guidance. Some rare conditions were included but others we not.
  • We had concerns with the way the guidance covered information and support, referring only to notifying the DVLA and employers. A valuable opportunity to sign post to third sector support could be missed.

See our full NICE consultation response.

See our October 2018 letter to NICE.

Long term plan for the NHS

Back in June, the Prime Minister set out a funding settlement for the NHS in England for the next five years. In return, the NHS has been asked to set out a long term plan for the NHS over the next decade.

In August 2018 we published a paper The long term plan for the NHS – getting it right for neurology patients setting out how the long term plan could support improvement in care for neurology patients. In making the case for including neurology in the long term plan we have drawn upon newly available data highlighting the need for urgent action to address current failings in care:

  • The number of deaths in England relating to neurological disorders rose by 39% over 13 years, while deaths in the general population fell by 6% over the same period.
  • Deaths associated with a neurological condition are 35% more likely to be premature.
  • 19% of patients with a neurological condition had had an unplanned stay in hospital over the past year – this is twice the rate for all people with a long-term condition (9.8%)
  • From 2012/13 to 2015/16 there was a 10% increase in England in adult emergency hospital admissions with a neurological condition as the primary diagnosis on admission episode.

We are using this publication to start a conversation with NHS England about how the long-term plan can support improvements that are urgently needed for neurology patients, but also how neurology could be a test bed for many of the new models of care and personalisation.

National Stroke Programme Board

The Neurological Alliance is a member of the National Stroke Programme Board, responsible for delivering the Stroke National Plan/Stroke priority within the long term plan for the NHS. Our role is to support the delivery of the rehabilitation aspects of the Stroke National Plan. We want to ensure that this work supports improvements in broader neuro-rehabilitation services.