News and Events

05-APR-2017 - 2016 SURVEY RESULTS

GlosNA ran a survey in the autumn of 2016 to try to find out what areas of the services provided by the NHS and county council were in need of improvement.


You can download the summary report here.



The Neurological Alliance has updated its 'Invisible Patients' report of January 2015.  The headline findings show that patient experience has worsened in all key measures, including time taken to diagnosis, access to specialists and experience of on-going care.

However, there are some encouraging signs for neurology in terms of emerging new national initiatives.


The NA's report, "Falling Short - How has neurology patient experience changed since 2014?" shows that patient experience has become worse since 2014 across all key measures, including time taken to diagnosis, access to specialists and experience of on-going care.

This is, however, balanced by some encouraging signs for neurology in terms of emerging new national initiatives.

The report calls for all parts of the health system to work together to ensure that by 2018 the NA can report a turnaround in patients' experience, with all people with neurological conditions being able to access the care they need and deserve.

You can download the report here.



A new Neurological Alliance poll of general practitioners shows that they have little confidence in the primary care pathway for people with neurological conditions.


The NA's latest Neurology and Primary Care report presents the results of a survey of 1,001 regionally representative GPs and an expert workshop convened in December 2015.

The report focuses primarily on England but additional UK-wide findings are included in the appendix. The report finds that:

  • 85% of GPs in England are concerned about the time taken from referral for patients to see a consultant neurologist.
  • 84% of GPs in England feel that they could benefit from further training on identifying and managing people presenting with neurological conditions.
  • 59% of GPs believe that the local services and systems in place in their area are inadequate for a timely diagnosis of a neurological condition.
  • Fewer than half of GPs polled felt confident in their ability to make an initial assessment and referral for people presenting with signs and symptoms of multiple sclerosis.

The report makes eight recommendations for improving the primary care pathway for people living with neurological conditions, including a call for the development of a pan-neuro "watch list" of the ten signs and symptoms GPs should be aware of during routine patient interactions.

The report can be downloaded here.



GCC is carrying out a needs analysis for people with physical disabilities and sensory impairments.  A new survey will result in a report to help shape future GCC policy.


Gloucestershire County Council's Commissioning Support Team has produced an online survey to find out what life is like for people with physical disabilities and/or sensory impairments.  It covers topics such as access to buildings, the outside environment and public transport, accommodation, education, employment, care, support, health and wellbeing.

The survey can be completed by the person with a disability, or on their behalf by a person who supports them. The survey is open until Sunday 8th May, 2016.  Use this link for the online version.  If you want to complete it in hard-copy form please phone Sam Howe, Commissioning Officer on 01452-328638 or email Please also pass on the link to anyone you feel may be able to contribute.



The House of Commons Public Accounts Committee has published a new report in which they recognise the ongoing neurology issues and make some strong recommendations.


Some key quotes from the report:

    "Neurological conditions are not a priority for the Department of Health or NHS England, and we are concerned that the progress ... may not be sustained."

    "Services for neurological conditions are not consistently good enough, and there remains wide variation across the country in access, outcomes and patient experience."

    "Diagnosing neurological conditions takes too long, services in hospitals are variable and local health and social care services are often poorly coordinated."

You can download the report here as a PDF.



NHS England announced on 6th January 2016 that the role of National Clinical Director for Neurology will be one of 8 NCD roles to be cut by NHS England from April this year.


NHS England has said it is reshaping its NCDs to create a 'more coherent structure' for receiving clinical advice. However, last month NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens admitted the decision was also being driven by the need to cut costs.

The Neurological Alliance takes the view that this is a short-sighted and fundamentally misguided decision.  The very small savings released by discontinuing the role will be dwarfed by the costs to neurology services associated with losing national clinical leadership.  The decision also reinforces the perception that NHS England does not give sufficient priority or focus to securing much-needed improvements to neurology services.



The Neurological Alliance has made a plea to members to write to Simon Stevens, NHS England CEO, calling for continued support for the National Clinical Director, Neurology Intelligence Network, and clinical networks for neurology.


The Neurological Alliance has written to Simon Stevens, chief executive officer of NHS England, calling on him to publicly affirm NHS England’s ongoing commitment to supporting the National Clinical Director, the strategic clinical networks and the Neurology Intelligence Network in the future. These three initiatives began after the Public Accounts Committee's review of Neurology in 2012 and all three of them are considered to be valuable and effective, but they are all under threat of cuts.

The letter sent by the NA can be downloaded here as a PDF.

The NA has offered a template which can be used by any neurological charity or commercial organisation to write to Simon Stevens to endorse the NA's position. You can download it (in MS-Word 2007 format) here.



GlosNA's Dr Jean Waters assists Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson in the launch of the National Wheelchair Leadership Alliance's wheelchair charter and campaign.

The Right Chair, Right Time, Right Now campaign aims to raise awareness of the vast differences in the quality of wheelchair services across the country.  The Wheelchair Charter encourages MPs, local commissioning groups and the public to pledge their support to the campaign; the Gloucestershire CCG board has already pledged its support.

The launch took place in Westminster on July 20th and has received excellent support in the press and on TV and radio (click for curious photo).The Wheelchair Leadership Alliance is committed to convincing politicians, NHS England, the Department of Health and commissioners locally and nationally that they must take action over the confused and inadequate state of wheelchair services.  For this they are collecting pledges of support; there is a letter signed by Tanni Grey-Thompson and Jean Waters - please forward it to all your contacts and social media sites.



A report published by the National Audit Office says the government has failed to achieve key objectives for improving services for people with neurological conditions.


Reviewing progress against recommendations made by the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee (PAC) in 2012, the NAO’s report shows that progress has been poor against two of four agreed recommendations, and only moderate in the other two.

Commenting on the report, Arlene Wilkie, Chief Executive of the Neurological Alliance, said: “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 today’s NHS.  We need action so that the needs of millions of people with complex conditions are no longer overlooked.”

Key recommendations that have not been achieved include:
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.

The report is available here.

Neurology services continue to suffer from a range of issues including highly variable access to specialist expertise, long waiting times for diagnosis, and poor care planning and coordination, as set out in the Alliance’s January 2015 Invisible Patients report and in the Association of British Neurologists' December 2014 Acute Neurology Survey.

The Neurological Alliance will now write to the Public Accounts Committee calling for a full review of neurology in light of the NAO’s findings.


16-Jun-2015 -  neuro15  REVIEWED


GlosNA's open forum discussion event,  neuro15 , was held in Churchdown Community Centre on June 16th, 2015. 

Representatives of the Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group, the neurological charities, Carers Gloucestershire, Gloucestershire Healthwatch and members of the public met to discuss three issues which affect thousands of people in the county: Integrated care services, respite, and wheelchair provision.

Reports on the meeting are available here.



Neurological Alliance report reveals the state of neurology services


This new report from the Neurological Alliance identifies significant variation in the quality of the commissioning of neurological services among clinical commissioning groups (CCGs). Findings include:

  • Only 14.7% of CCGs have assessed local costs relating to the provision of neurology services,
  • Only 20.4% of CCGs have assessed the number of people using neurological services,
  • Only 26.2% of CCGs have assessed the prevalence of neurological conditions within their area respectively,
  • Only 33% of CCGs obtain vital feedback from patients on the neurological services they commission.

These issues have a significant impact on patients' care with 58.1% of patients having experienced problems in accessing the services or treatment they need.

In response, The Invisible Patients sets out a number of recommendations, including:

  • Every CCG should collate up-to-date and accurate local neurology data, underpinned by routine and rigorous assessments of the prevalence of neurological conditions and of the number of people using neurological services locally.
  • All CCGs should ensure that mechanisms in place to capture patient feedback on the quality of local neurology services.
  • CCGs should work in partnership to identify clinical and research trial opportunities locally, and should support the sharing of information on such opportunities with patients.

The report is available here.


14-Sep-2014 - LOCALISM - DOES IT WORK?

Neurological Alliance survey report published


England's 211 Clinical Commissioning Groups, created in April 2013 as a result of the government's changes to the NHS, determine the allocation of public funds to health and social care services according to local needs.

Each CCG is influenced, in part, by professionals via the local Health and Wellbeing Board and by the public via the local Heathwatch.  Many other professional and charitable organisations can and do influence the CCGs; for example, GlosNA works with the Gloucestershire CCG to help identify and prioritise issues affecting neurology services in the county.

The Neurological Alliance has conducted a survey on localism.  Read their report by clicking here.

The survey findings include (a) the lack of knowledge of the structures and purposes of HWB's, Healthwatch and Strategic Clinical Networks is a major barrier for most people, including volunteers who are actively engaged with neurology matters; (b) patient involvement is key; (c) health professionals, including GPs, need more training on neurological conditions, and (d) neurological charities must develop and understand the available data and work out how to use it to better influence local policy.

The NA report's recommendations cover neurological service planning and influencing from the patient level to the political level, through charities, advisory bodies and budget holders.



A new settlement for health and social care - Final Report


The final report from the independent Commission on the Future of Health and Social Care in England is now available free of charge for download from The King's Fund web site. There is also a brief summary of the report, downloadable on the same web page.

This report makes recommendations to the government to deliver a simpler pathway through the current maze of entitlements.   It proposes a new approach that redesigns care around individual needs regardless of diagnosis, with a graduated increase in support as needs rise, particularly towards the end of life.

Key findings include a single budget for the NHS and social care and a single commissioner for local services.  A new care and support allowance would offer choice and control to people with low to moderate needs while at the highest levels of need the artificial boundaries between NHS and social care will be removed; in other words, the report addresses the question "Why is cancer care free but dementia care means-tested?".

The commission recommends a focus on more equal support for equal need, which in the long term means making much more social care free at the point of use.

The commission largely rejects new NHS charges and private insurance options in favour of public funding.



Neurological Alliance - Patient Experience Survey Results


In April 2014 the Neurological Alliance (NA) released a new report on the true impact of neurological conditions.  You can get the report and an accompanying fact sheet via this link.  In brief, the NA concludes that:

  • The number of neurological cases in England has now reached approximately 12.5 million – this equates to 59,000 cases per clinical commissioning group;
  • 1.3 million hospital admissions were recorded for people with a neurological diagnosis in 2012/13 – representing an increase of more than 500,000 over a five year period;
  • The NHS spent over £4.4 billion on neurological conditions in 2012/13 alone;
  • NHS expenditure on neurological conditions increased by over 200% between 2003/4 and 2012/13.

The 2014 survey was the first of its kind for neurological conditions.  Running in parallel with an audit on the quality of neurological commissioning, it was disseminated among the NA’s member organisations and networks and the findings will feed into the NA's first annual variations report later in 2014.  The NA will release the report with the survey’s and audit’s findings in December.



Public Health England launches the new Mental Health Dementia and Neurology Intelligence Network (MHDNIN)


The purpose of MHDNIN is to analyse information and data and turn it into timely, meaningful health intelligence for commissioners, policy makers, clinicians and health professionals.  The information will be used to improve services, outcomes and reduce the negative impact of mental health, dementia and neurology problems.

Initial work includes development of Neurology profiles around an epilepsy care pathway and emergency hospital admissions for eleven further conditions.  The conditions are headaches and migraine; motor neurone disease and spinal muscular atrophy; multiple sclerosis and inflammatory disorders; peripheral nerve disorders; Parkinson's disease; movement disorders (including Huntington's disease, dystonia and tremors); tumours of the nervous system; neuromuscular disease; and central nervous system infections.

The MHDIN web site includes links to many valuable resources on these neurological conditions and their care and treatment.

© Gloucestershire Neurological Alliance 2014, 2015