Public accounts committee

Building for Equality Report

25th April 2017 Women and Equalities Select committee, chaired by Maria Miller MP, published its report into access for disabled people to the built environment.

View Building for Equality report

The committee’s key recommendations include:

  • Government should give strategic leadership to ensure disabled people can access the built environment
  • Government should make it easier for planning authorities to insist on access including not signing off local plans unless they address access to housing, public spaces and the wider built environment
  • There should be more ambition in implementing accessible housing standards to at least the equivalent of the life time homes standard
  • Increased provision of Changing Places toilets in public building should be a priority
  • There should be a moratorium on shared space schemes until national guidelines are developed that guarantee access and safety for disabled people.

This fits with the priority given this year by the Cumbria NA to raise the issue of the lack of Changing Places across the County.


Update on clinical leadership in neurology

The National Neurological Alliance is continuing to campaign and engage with NHS England on the future of clinical leadership for neurology services, following their decision to end the role of National Clinical Director for Adult Neurology and reduce support for clinical networks. The latest updates areavailable on the Alliance website, along with an updated briefing on the issues and background.

Cumbria Neurological Alliance co-signed the Alliance’s letter to the Secretary of State for Health and to the Times newspaper regarding NHS England’s decision to cut the role of National Clinical Director for Adult Neurology. Letters were also sent in support of our view by the chairs of all-party parliamentary groups with an interest in neurology, and by representatives of over 20 professional clinical organisations with an interest in neurology such as the Association of British Neurologists. A copy of these letters as well as a response from Ben Gummer MP, (Parliamentary Under-Secretary at the Department of Health), is available on the Alliance’s website.

In addition, with the help of members a number of parliamentary questions were placed in February and March on the future of clinical leadership for neurology. The questions and responses can be found at the following links: 29133; 27966; 27532; 27534; HL6082; 26275;Commons25394; HL7369.

Arlene Wilkie CEO The Neurological Alliance states “We are now working with supportive parliamentarians on follow-ups to our previous letters and questions, as we feel the responses provided so far are unsatisfactory. In addition we are meeting with NHS England colleagues in April, along with the Association of British Neurologists, to discuss in detail NHS plans for maintaining clinical leadership for neurology going forward. We will continue to press NHS England for clear proposals to assure ongoing clinical leadership and will keep members updated on any developments.”

Pubic Accounts Committee – Services to people with neurological conditions: progress review inquiry

Public Accounts Committee (PAC) neurology services review recommendations were published yesterday 26th February 2016 and are waiting Government response.

Cumbria Neurological Alliance supports fully these recommendations.

View the response at

Progress report is ‘wake up call’ over support for neurological patientsPublic Accounts Committee publishes report on state of support for neurological patients

In summary it is a very positive report for neurology – in that they recognise the ongoing neurology issues, they have made some strong recommendations and they will review neurology services again.

Some key quotes from the report: 

  • “Neurological conditions are not a priority for the Department of Health (the Department) and NHS England, and we are concerned that the progress that has been made 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.”

PAC recommendations:

  • NHS England should retain the role of national clinical director for adult neurology.
  • NHS England should set out by April 2016: how it will use the new commissioning for value data packs to help clinical commissioning groups improve neurological services and reduce the variation in services and outcomes; and how it will then hold clinical commissioning groups to account for their performance in this regard.
  • The Department should report back to us [the PAC] by April 2016 setting out how it plans to link health and social care data, including a clear timetable for when it expects care data to be fully implemented across the NHS.
  • NHS England should set out clearly by April 2016 which neurological services are specialised services to be commissioned by NHS England and which services should be commissioned locally by clinical commissioning groups.
  • The Department should confirm how it is measuring performance against the objective that everyone with a long-term condition should be offered a personalised care plan. NHS England should set out a timetable for meeting the objective and the Department should hold NHS England to account for achieving this timetable.
  • NHS England should report back to us by April 2017 on what it has done to make best use of the available neurologists and reduce the variations in access, including through re-designing services and making more use of other clinical staff, particularly specialist nurses.

The PAC quote the Alliance as using four million people as our neurology figure. This isn’t quite correct as the figure of course is much larger than this but they seem to keep out the headache and migraine numbers from their figures which we disagreed with.

14 Dec 2015 – Services to people with neurological conditions: progress review – oral evidence | PDF version (347 KB) Opens in a new windowHC 502 | Published 30 Dec 2015

Evidence given by Arlene Wilkie, Chief Executive, Neurological Alliance, Paul Morrish, Consultant Neurologist and adviser to the National Neurology Intelligence Network, and Dr Geraint Fuller, former President of the Association of British Neurologists; Dame Una O’Brien, Permanent Secretary, Department of Health, Simon Stevens, Chief Executive, Sir Bruce Keogh, National Medical Director, and David Bateman, National Clinical Director for Adult Neurology Conditions, NHS England (at 4.30pm).



Public Accounts Committee Links

The PAC hearing to consider neurology services took place on 17th December 2015

The links to this hearing are available on line.  We were delighted to hear Arlene Wilkie CEO Neurological Alliance give evidence, together with neurologists Dr Geraint Fuller and Paul Morrish.

The hearing is now available to view online at: In addition, the transcript of the hearing is available here: