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Charities warn of 'neurology time bomb'

Charities have warned a 'neurology time bomb' will catch the NHS unawares unless urgent action is taken.

Figures released by Parkinson's UK shows there will be 28% more people with Parkinson's by 2020.


This prediction comes in the wake of December's National Audit Office report into neurology care, which showed current services to be “not fit for purpose”.


During his appearance in front of the Public Accounts Committee today (17 January), Steve Ford, Chair of the Neurological Alliance and CEO of Parkinson's UK, will call for a neurology tzar to be appointed to champion improvements. 


“A crisis is looming but the government has its head in the sand. When it comes to helping vulnerable people with a neurological condition the Government is floundering around in a fog of its own making,” said Ford.


“We need a leader to champion improvements - a Neurology Tzar, if you like, backed up with a plan and a strategy. When diabetes, cancer and stroke were assigned Tzars, things really started to happen. People affected by neurological conditions are fed up with being at the bottom of the Government's 'To Do' list. 


“It is time the DH sorted out this mess. It's not about spending more money: it's about getting good value and quality services.”


Steve Ford is expected to give evidence to MPs on a number of “systematic failings” including: a lack of public accountability as to how neurology care funds are spent; unacceptable variations in neurological care with some patients receiving “disorganised and inconsistent” treatment; and delays in diagnosis.


"We know that care for people with neurological conditions is not good enough and we must do more. It is clear that too many people are not getting personalised support to suit their needs," said Care Services Minister Paul Burstow in a statement to NiP. 


"This is exactly why we need to reform the NHS so we give people with long term health conditions more control over their care and support, in consultation with clinicians."


Question: Will an increased use of telehealth equipment improve care for people with neurological conditions?