New clinical leadership to lead transformation in neuroscience 


The Neurological Alliance welcomes the appointment of new national clinical directors in neurology, spinal surgery and neurosurgery announced today. Dr Niranjanan Nirmalananthan, Consultant Neurologist at St George’s Hospital, has been appointed National Clinical Director (NCD) for Neurology. Mr David Cumming, Consultant Spinal Surgeon, East Suffolk & North Essex NHS Foundation Trust has been appointed NCD for Spinal surgery and Neurosurgery.

The announcement comes following a review of clinical leadership in NHS England and confirmation in May 2022 that NHS England would be recruiting for the posts in neuroscience. This positive move is something The Neurological Alliance and 35 other organisations throughout the country have been calling for.

These roles will provide leadership to drive improvement of treatment, care and support for people affected by neurological conditions, provide advice and insight to achieve integrated care and work with others, including people with neurological conditions, to support the commissioning of effective services that address local population health needs. They will also provide clinical advice to support the development of national policy in neuroscience. 

We urge the new clinical leaders to: 

  • Work with us to ensure people affected by neurological conditions and patient groups have an equal voice and are heard at a national level, including through new planning and commissioning structures, such as Integrated Care Boards
  • Address the significant gaps in support for the mental health of people affected by neurological conditions 
  • To work with colleagues across the sector to grow the neuroscience workforce to meet need now and in the future
  • Deepen our understanding of health inequalities faced by people affected by neurological conditions, and redouble efforts to tackle them, including through enhanced data and insight
  • Support the integration of work undertaken from across the sector to identify optimal pathways of care into relevant NHSE workstreams
  • Support our call for a UK wide Neuro Taskforce, to tackle common challenges faced by people affected by neurological conditions 

Georgina Carr, CEO, The Neurological Alliance, said:

“These appointments cannot come a moment too soon. The challenges facing people affected by neurological conditions, patient groups, healthcare professionals and systems are significant. Our recent My Neuro Survey highlighted that both adults and children affected by neurological conditions are currently facing significant delays to accessing treatment and care, including vital mental wellbeing support, and difficulties getting a prompt diagnosis, and there simply isn’t the workforce in place to provide the support they need. We look forward to working with our new clinical leaders to address these challenges and create real change.” 

Dr Nirmalananthan said:

“I am delighted to be taking on the role of National Clinical Director for Neurology. I am committed to better understanding and tackling health inequalities and unwarranted variation in care for people affected by neurological conditions, and working with the new integrated care systems and regions to support a whole pathway approach to delivery of neurological services. I am looking forward to working with people affected by neurological conditions and with The Neurological Alliance in pursuit of these goals.”

Mr Cumming said:

“I am honoured to be taking on the role of National Clinical Director for Spinal Surgery & Neurosurgery. I am committed to working with NHS England and patients to ensure that we can optimise care for those with spinal and neurological conditions. We will be working closely with other specialists to ensure that we can provide the best quality care when required.”

Both Mr Cummings and Dr Nirmalananthan will Chair NHS England Clinical Reference Groups (CRGs), which provide advice to NHS England on clinical and commissioning policies. Georgina Carr, our Chief Executive, currently sits as a patient and public voice representative on the neurology CRG. You can read more about the CRGs here.