Postcode lottery for neurology services revealed in new report

Published date: 14 Jan 2015 at 11:42AM

A new report has found that 58 per cent of people with neurological conditions have experienced problems in accessing the services or treatment they need.

Informed by a survey of 7,000 people, a quarter of whom have MS, the report from the Neurological Alliance shows that the quality of neurology services varies significantly across the country.

Long wait for diagnosis 

Diagnosis is particularly problematic, with 32 per cent of respondents having to see their GP five or more times about the health problems caused by their condition before being referred to a neurological specialist.

In addition, 40 per cent of respondents waited more than 12 months from when they first noticed their symptoms to seeing a neurological specialist.

Only 20 per cent of commissioners of local health services assess the number and needs of people using neurological services, which could explain these problems.

Recommendations for change

The report sets out 10 recommendations for how the system should be improved. These include:

  • Local health service commissioners should collate up to date and accurate data on the prevalence of neurological conditions and of the number of people using neurological services locally
  • Local health service commissioners speak directly with patients to shape the development of local neurology services

​Alarming findings

Nick Rijke, Executive Director of Policy and Research at the MS Society says, “We welcome this report and thank the 1,500 people with MS who took part in the survey. However, the findings make for alarming reading.

“When we see how few commissioners are prioritising neurological services, it is no wonder that people with neurological conditions like MS are struggling to access what they need. Local commissioners should ensure that neurology services are fit for purpose and able to meet the needs of people they are meant to serve. Timely diagnosis and appointments with neurologists are the least people should expect.”

Treat Me Right

Access to care and treatments is a major concern for people with MS, which is why our Treat Me Right campaign calls for the right treatment at the right time for everyone. Put pressure on commissioners to improve neurology services by joining our Treat Me Right campaign today.

Page last updated: 14 Jan 2015

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