11th March 2019

New report from The Neurological Alliance shows the number of neurological cases are increasing


Today we publish our new report, Neuro Numbers to mark the start of Brain Awareness Week 2019. The report shows that the number of neurological cases has now reached at least 14.7 million in England. This equates to more than one in six people living with one or more neurological conditions. The report also highlights that the prevalence of neurological conditions will continue to increase due to an ageing population, improvements in diagnosis and advances in neo-natal care.


In response to this new data, The Neurological Alliance is calling for neurology to be prioritised by the health and care system to ensure the needs of this growing patient group are met.


75,000 neurological cases per Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG)

Analysis of the new data on prevalence reveals that there are over 75,000 neurological cases per Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). Data produced by NHS RightCare for local and regional commissioning areas demonstrate there is a substantial financial savings opportunity in relation to reducing emergency admissions and bed days with a mention of a neurological condition. Yet a recent audit of CCGs, undertaken by The Neurological Alliance has demonstrated that only 35 out of 195 CCGs have delivery plans that include neurological conditions.


Sarah Vibert, Chief Executive of The Neurological Alliance said:


Our latest Neuro Numbers report shows that the number of people living with neurological conditions has grown over the last five years and will continue to increase. We were dismayed to find that the NHS Long Term Plan did not mention the word ‘neurology’. What is needed is increased awareness of neurological conditions among those responsible for planning services. But without any national neurological priority, many of the measures set out in the NHS Plan that have the potential to ensure people with neurological conditions are better supported may not bring about the changes needed.


As well as giving the latest prevalence estimates for neurological conditions, Neuro Numbers also brings together all the latest pan-neurological data that is available for England. This shows that the number of people being admitted to hospital with a mention of a neurological condition has increased by 24% over the five years to 2016/17. There has also been an 8% increase in bed days over the same period for people with a mention of a neurological condition. The average length of stay for people with a mention of a neurological condition is 9.78 days; this compares to 7 days across all conditions.


National incentives for local decision makers


We are calling for the different parts of the health system to work together to address the issues being highlighted by the data. The report highlights that 2019 is set to be a landmark year for our understanding of neurological services, with Getting it Right First Time due to report on neurology in the summer. We would like to see the introduction of national incentives for local and regional decision makers to tackle unwarranted variation in neurological care, based on the opportunities for improvement demonstrated by local-level data.


Katharine McIntosh, Senior Policy Advisor from The Neurological Alliance said:


The system needs to act now to address the issues the data is flagging. A year ago, it was shown that deaths from neurological conditions are 35% more likely to be premature. We know that many of these deaths are potentially avoidable with better care. Mortality data also highlights that neurology is particularly adversely affected by health inequalities – for example mortality related to epilepsy in the most deprived areas was three times higher than in the least deprived areas. We are yet to see concerted action to tackle avoidable deaths related to neurological conditions.


You can read the full report here in our Resource Library.


Read our latest blog about Neuro Numbers and the need for better data.