Over a year on from Rewrite the Future – our 2016 campaign to end inequalities in care for people with neurological conditions – seems like a good time to sit down and consider what progress has been made.
And if I’m honest, I’m not sure that anyone with a neurological condition in Scotland today will have noticed much of an improvement in the care and support they receive as a result of our campaign.
However, what I am sure about is that, after years of neglect of the state of services for people with neurological conditions, MSPs, the Scottish Government and others are starting to sit up and take notice of what’s going on. There is now a recognition that things need to change.
So what has happened in the last year?
Well, the Scottish Government has reconstituted its national policy group on neurological care – the catchily titled National Advisory Committee on Neurological Conditions (or NACNC for short) – and it has started looking at some of the big issues.
One of those is something we at Sue Ryder called for: going back to basics by finding out how many people in Scotland have neurological conditions and where they live. This is the only way that vitally needed specialist services can be designed to meet the needs of people with neurological conditions.
We’ve joined a NACNC working group to improve specialist care and rehab so people living at home can be supported to live as independently as possible. And, perhaps most significantly, the national standards on neurological health services – which we revealed to be often overlooked by the NHS – are now being reviewed to make them more relevant and more likely to make a genuine difference to people’s lives.
So, hand on heart, I think we can definitely say that the pressure on our policy makers – whether it be MSPs, the Scottish Government or our health boards, and health and social care partnerships – has increased considerably and is starting to take effect.
Of course, now that we are starting to see movement in the world of policy, what we need to see next is action at a local level so that people with neurological conditions do start to get the support and care they need to live life as fully as possible.
That’s exactly why, later this year, we will be launching the next stage of our campaign, as we work with you and others to ensure people with neurological conditions do not feel written off.
Policy and Public Affairs Manager (Scotland)