The Multiple Sclerosis Trust — a UK charity dedicated to providing information for anyone affected by multiple sclerosis, education programs for health professionals, funding for practical research and campaigning for specialist multiple sclerosis services, says the recent Update on UK report shows little improvement in meeting key objectives for improving services for people with neurological conditions.
They note that in 2012 the UK House of Commons Public Accounts Committee (PAC) published a “damning report” about the level and quality of services available to the millions of people living with neurological conditions in the UK, including more than 100,000 with multiple sclerosis and in general showing significant variation in the quality and availability of support and treatment for persons with neurological disorders. The Commons committee report also criticized poor co-ordination of individual care and a shortage of the data needed to measure the effectiveness of services for people living with neurological conditions.
Now, the MS Trust says a new report released 10th July 2015 by the National Audit Office (NAO) shows that the UK government has failed to achieve key objectives for improving services for millions of people struggling with neurological conditions, has failed to make progress against many of the key objectives needed to improve services, and that progress has been poor against three of the five agreed recommendations made by the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee (PAC) in 2012, ‘moderate’ in two, and ‘good’ in just one.
Commenting on the NAO report, Arlene Wilkie, Chief Executive of the Neurological Alliance, observed that: “Three years on from the Public Account Committee’s report, it is unacceptable that so little progress has been made in vital areas that were identified as needing urgent improvement. It only adds to the sense that people living with neurological conditions are not seen as a priority within todays NHS. We need action so that the needs of millions of people with complex conditions must no longer be overlooked.”
The NAO highlights recommendations that have not been achieved as including:
• Access to services: The government has failed to use levers such as the clinical commissioning group outcomes indicator set to improve access to neurology services across the country and as a result neurology is mentioned in only half of local strategies.
• Improving data: The government has failed to rectify the shortage of neurology data, which means for example that the NHS has no record of the numbers of neurology service users and no effective measure of patient outcomes.
• Care planning: The government has failed to ensure that everyone with a long-term neurological condition has a care plan which means that their changing care needs are simply not being met.
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