17th March 2019

New report by Sue Ryder finds 15,000 people in England with complex neurological conditions living in general old age care homes


A new report by Neurological Alliance member charity Sue Ryder reveals that more than 15,000 people in England with complex neurological conditions such as head injury, motor neurone disease, MS, Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease, are living old people’s nursing homes.  This means that individuals are not getting access to the specialist neurological care they need.  In many cases it also means working-aged people are living in socially inappropriate placements, alongside older people.


Sue Ryder gathered the figures by submitting  a Freedom of Information request to all local authorities in England.  Their research also discovered that only 49 out of 151 authorities were able to confirm that they routinely record whether the individuals they are providing services for have neurological conditions.


Pamela Mackenzie, Executive Director for Neurological Services, Sue Ryder, and The Neurological Alliance Trustee, said:


Old-age care homes simply can’t provide the specialist expertise for the treatment and management of neurological conditions, which are often really complex in nature and need to be monitored and delivered under the supervision of knowledgeable staff. Instead, some of these people are effectively being left to rot.


We’ve heard of appalling cases, such as a 42-year-old woman with MS in a wheelchair who lived in an old-age care home – she had not been given a bath for two years because the home didn’t have the facilities to hoist her in and out.


This issue should have been dealt with by the NHS in its new long-term plan but yet again the opportunity to address this fundamental gap in care has been missed. It’s a scandal.


Sarah Vibert, Chief Executive, The Neurological Alliance said:


We applaud Sue Ryder for raising this important issue.  We hear of people in their 40s and 50s living alongside 80- and 90-year-olds, and this has a huge impact on their mental health. With nobody of their own age to relate to or interact with, people become lonely, isolated and depressed.


The full report is available on Sue Ryder’s website.  You can read the Mail on Sunday article about the report, which quotes The Neurological Alliance, here.