Over 1 million people in the UK live with the consequence of a traumatic brain injury, costing the economy around £15 billion a year. This is according to Chris Bryant MP, the sponsor of the Acquired Brain Injury Private Members Bill, which was due to have its second parliamentary reading on Friday 3 December. However, its sponsor didn’t ultimately need to move the Bill, as he received a commitment from Government to produce a strategy to help bring a consistent level of service for people with these injuries:
A Written Ministerial Statement was published on 2 December by Gillian Keegan, Minister of State (Minister for Care and Mental Health), confirming that the Government is “committed to supporting all people living with an Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) and those living with other neurological conditions and seeks to prevent Acquired Brain Injuries wherever possible.”
The Statement confirms that the content of the strategy will be informed by a Call for Evidence in early 2022, “inviting stakeholders nationwide, including healthcare professionals, people living with an acquired brain injury, their families and carers, to put forward their views about what should be prioritised within the strategy. These priorities could include guidance on action to prevent acquired brain injury, including through concussion in sport; on research into the societal, congenital, medical and environmental causes of ABI; on the provision of relevant services for the purpose of diagnosing ABI, including in prisons, schools and the armed forces; on the identification of adults and children with ABI; on the assessment of their needs; and on the planning of relevant services. We will also ask for feedback on whether there are other related neurological conditions which should be considered for inclusion.”
We will be keeping you up to date with the progress of the Call for Evidence when released.
It is perhaps stating the obvious that early input following an acquired brain injury is critical to aid and optimise recovery. The last 20 months during the pandemic have stretched medical and healthcare providers to an extreme which has resulted in a great deal of the follow up rehabilitative statutory services for those who have sustained traumatic brain injuries being either unavailable or dramatically reduced.
Where there are compensators sat in the background, rather than face a lengthy wait and at times under-resourced provisions, there has been a shift to move immediately to private rehabilitation services which are not inexpensive and, in addition, a positive outcome is not necessarily always guaranteed.
With the cost of private rehabilitation and care providers rising dramatically, it is a welcome step to refocus attention and increase the availability of statutory services along with raising awareness of acquired brain injury from a general perspective.
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