MAC submitted a memorandum of evidence to the Public Accounts Committee for its session on 18 January 2012 considering services for people with long term neurological conditions. Read it here. It reflects our views on the shortcomings around neurological commissioning and integration of services for people with neurological long term conditions which have given rise to the failures so strongly identified in the National Audit Office report Services for People with Neurological Conditions (December 2011).
More radical leadership and thinking required
The NAO report said thinking and leadership around neurological services were not radical enough. We concur. We also think handing over to clinical commissioning groups will be troublesome, because there is no consensus about “what goes where” for neurological commissioning. GPs historically do not have a strong affinity – which means most don’t know or care much – about neurological conditions. The temptation will be to let this complex issue drop off the local commissioning table while they get on with diabetes and heart disease.
Power is at local level
What proactive line will the neurological 3rd sector community take to overcome this? They need to up their game and switch on the local influencing power of their members (users and carers) and allies. As we say in our memorandum to the PAC:
“Nothing about me without me” must be owned by people with LTNC in order to switch on the power of the patient and carer voice.
As the half-way evaluation of the Long Term Neurological Conditions NSF showed recently, and the NAO report underscored, wherever users of neurological services are, they are certainly not “at the heart of neurology commissioning” as they ought to be.
A scandal that must end
Until they are at the heart of everything that concerns them, people with long term neurological conditions and carers will still suffer the chaotic situation articulated by the recent NAO report. It is a scandal that must end.
The Moore Adamson Craig Partnership supports user and public participation, trains lay representatives and develops responsive health, care and education organisations. We are ready to work with and support all those who want to make sense and a success of the new structures of patient and public engagement within the new arrangements for health and social care commissioning and providing. Feel free to contact us to discuss the opportunities.