Report reveals the true impact of neurological conditions

In April the National Neurological Alliance published a new report and accompanying factsheet revealing the economic and societal impact of neurological conditions and setting out the steps needed to address the major gaps in neurological data and intelligence.

Measuring up: improving the quality of neurological data and intelligence and Neuro Numbers, our new prevalence and statistics resource, unveil new figures showing 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

Despite their huge impact, historically very little information has been collated and published about neurological conditions and how people affected by them are cared for and supported by the NHS and social care services. There has also been a poor understanding of their prevalence and economic and societal impact among decision-makers at the national and local level.

Momentum behind better data collection and analysis has begun to grow however. Following the 2012 Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report on neurological conditions, which drew national attention to the dearth of neurological data and intelligence, and work that we have undertaken since with Dr David Bateman, the National Clinical Director for Neurological Conditions,NHS England and the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC), the first neurological dataset was launched in March of this year. This brought together for the first time accessible neurology data from various sources within health and social care.

Whilst the publication of the dataset is a seminal step forward, it is only the beginning, with Measuring up forming a vital part of our campaign to push for the creation of a comprehensive system of neurological data and intelligence capture and analysis. With this in mind, our report :

  • addresses and reaffirms the rationale for improving the collection and quality of neurological data and intelligence;
  • presents a roadmap for improving the wider collection and analysis of neurological data and intelligence, setting out clear short, medium and long-term goals.

The NHS has done great things with data and intelligence for patient communities such as cancer and cardiovascular disease; with the right systems in place it has the opportunity to do similarly great things for people with neurological conditions. It is crucial that having taken on the challenge of improving neurological data capture and analysis, Government, NHS England and Public Health England commit to seeing it through.

Here in Cumbria we look forward to continuing to work closely with our health and social care colleagues over the coming months to achieve data parity for neurological conditions and know that with the support, expertise, drive and enthusiasm of our community, the aspirations of this paper can be realised in full.

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