Today, I met representatives of the Neurological Alliance of Scotland, which brings together charities working with people with neurological conditions.
They told me about the serious impact of being diagnosed with a neurological condition, and outlined the huge challenges that many individuals and families face. They explained that many people struggle to get the care, practical and emotional support that they need at diagnosis and beyond.
The NHS HIS Standards for Neurological Health Services specify that NHS Boards should provide:
· information for people with neurological conditions and their carers about the condition, the service, and voluntary sector organisations that can help
- a contact point for re-entry into the service for those with long-term conditions
- communication training for staff having contact with people with neurological conditions
- private facilities for discussion with patients and families
- access to specialist care
- support to enable people to self-manage their condition
· appropriate long term and community support
The Neurological Alliance of Scotland also has significant concerns about how the NHS is planning to support the growing number of people with neurological conditions. They highlighted that a recent report by the Royal College of Physicians and Association of British Neurologists – Local adult neurology services for the next decade – found that one neurologist was needed for every per 70,000 people to provide adequate care for people with neurological conditions. In Scotland, we currently have one neurologist for every 105,000 people – about two thirds of the number needed to meet this recommended staffing level.
I therefore writen to NHS Fife CEO John Wilson asking him the following questions:
- what plans does NHS Fife have to continue to support the improvement of services for people with neurological conditions – and in particular to provide adequate post-diagnostic support as outlined in the NHS HIS Clinical Standards for Neurological Services
- does NHS Fife have any issues in recruiting and / or retaining specialist staff such as consultants, nurses and allied health professionals and ensuring that there is an adequate workforce to meet the needs of people with neurological conditions?
- Is NHS Fife able to meet the RCP/ABN recommendation that one neurologist is needed for each 70,000 people